Posted October 3, 2011 by Norby Ela in Comics

LAST SEEN AFTER MIDNIGHT Interview with Budjette Tan & Kajo Baldisimo

With the TRESE 4: Last Seen After Midnight Book Launch happening this Saturday, Flipgeeks gets to interview co-creator and the writer of the Trese series, Budjette Tan about the latest volume, the book launch and what not.

(Editor’s Note: Kajo Baldisimo has just sent in his answers for the interview)

FLIPGEEKS: How’s the feeling that you are days away from the release of TRESE 4: LAST SEEN AFTER MIDNIGHT?
BUDJETTE TAN: We are very excited that, after more than a year, we are finally going to release a brand new Trese book!
KAJO BALDISIMO: Like young, proper parents having a baby, relieved that it’s out into the world, excited to make the new one.

FG: How long did it take for you guys to make it?
BT: I finished the first case back in June 2010. So, I guess that’s the official start of the book. Kajo (Baldisimo) was able to submit the artwork for the final case last August 2011. And we finished doing the covers and the lay-out in September.
KB: It feels like 13 years.

FG: Were both of you approach this book creatively different? How so?
KB: I think so. Budj has his own ideas he put into words, i have visuals not necessarily complementing his words. But that’s what’s great with this project, differences coming together to create a totally different idea, different creation.

FG: How did you prepare yourself to draw the stories for this book? Was it like the same from what you did in your past volumes or not? If not, how so?
KB: Still the same. Just with less ink.

FG: What should we expect from this book?
KB: Same old fun stuff. Stories that thrill, art that says ‘vahtevah!’

FG: What were some of the inspirations you got while doing the book?
BT: There’s one story was inspired by an episode of HOUSE, M.D. and CSI. Another story inspired when I got heartbroken in college. There’s a story which was inspired by one of Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing and this was a sort of tribute to him. And there’s a story that was inspire by Manny Pacquaio, which will be very obvious once you’ve read that case.
KB: Most of the places where the stories take place are close to my heart, either i pass by there everyday to go to work, or lived there for a while. I guess that familiarity was the inspiration.

FG: Do you think both of you improved as each volume/story passes by for TRESE, skills-wise?
KB: Definitely.

FG: There’s the Komikon Awards coming in November – do you think you & Kajo and Trese should win in each given categories that you guys were nominated on?
BT: The typical press release answer would be : “We are honored just to be nominated.” HAHAHA! Of course, it would be great to win in any of those categories. I hope every one who gets to reads this goes to the Komikon website and vote for their favorite comic books and writers and artists.
KB: I believe ALL the creators and the creations that are nominated in there should win in the category they were nominated on.

FG: How many pages does book 4 have?
BT: It’ll be 108 pages. And the book will be sold for P175.

FG: Have you made any revisions in your stories for this volume?
BT: Kajo revised some of the artwork. We actually made some of these cases available in the Komikon and Metro Comic Con earlier this year. Since then, Kajo has gone back to those pages and “re-inked” them, giving them this greyshading style. You’ll love it!

FG: Will it affect of you guys selling copies of it in November for Komikon?
BT: Trese will definitely be available at the November 19 KOMIKON, but the editions sold at Komikon will not have the dustcover.

FG: It said on some blogs that this volume will come with a slipcase cover, how did you guys come to this decision
BT: Let me just clarify that this book will not have a slipcase. It will have a dustcover, which you can remove and it becomes a neat, little poster for you.

FG: Will it affect the price of this book?
BT: The cover price will be P175.00

FG: With your busy day-jobs, what time do you guys work on Trese?
BT: I usually end up working on Trese at night, after I’m done with work. And I try to do as much work during the weekends as well.
KB: Sometimes 1 hour in a day, sometimes, the whole day. We take what we can get.

FG: Was there any challenge in creating the stories in this book?
KB: The challenges in drawing this book stemmed from my confused focus of ‘just having fun’ versus ‘i should be better’. Im glad to say that the former kicked the latter’s ass.

FG: In some ways, each book is a reaction to your previous book. How is book 3 a response to book 4?
BT: Book 4 is not a response to anything, I think. The stories in Book 4 are a bit similar to the stories in Book 1 and 2,meaning, they are stand-alone cases. I missed doing those kind of stories.
KB: I think book 4 is not really a response to anything. I think it’s just a mighty exercise of going back to ‘Just having fun doing what we love’

FG: Do you think you will ever put foreign folklore also on Trese in the future?
BT: Some of the stories I’ve been planning to do is to have Trese visit OFWs in Hong Kong and Saudi, where she’ll encounter some of the mystical creatures in those countries. I don’t know when we’ll get to do that, but it’s something I’ve been planning to do for some time.
KB: Yes.

FG: Would you let other people handle Trese? If you’re going to let other people handle Trese, who would be the writer and artist? local and foreign.
BT: For the moment, I think me and Kajo would like to define the world and universe of Trese ourselves. Maybe, someday, we can get some of the guys to visit our underworld and play around with our toys.

The usual suspects would be: David Hontiveros, Gerry Alanguilan, Carlo Vergra. Would be great to see Mervin Malonzo do Trese in his painted art style.

If their schedules ever allow them to do so, I would honored to get: Leinil Yu, Francis Manapul, Philip Tan, Harvey Tolibao, Stephen Segovia, Whilce Portacio, and Mark Torres to draw some Trese cases.

And in my Library of Dreams, there are issues of Trese wriiten by Neil Gaiman, Warren Ellis, and Paul Dini.

KB: Pwede.
Warren Ellis and Frank Miller.
Allan Moore and Frank Quitely.
Neil Gaiman and Bill Sienkiewicz.

FG: You will have a book launch this Saturday at NBS’s Bestsellers at Robinsons Galleria, How did you guys get that deal?
BT: National Bookstore approached us and asked when we were going to launch Book 4. They offered to help promote the book by having an event in their stores, as well as having all sorts of promo materials in all their branches of NBS, Powerbooks, and Bestsellers.

If you’ve noticed, for the past couple of years, National Bookstore has been making an effort to promote authors and books, by bringing all in foreign writers. They’ve also made the effort to make more people notice graphic novels by setting up COMIC ZONES in their big stores.

They’ve also sponsored local comic book events. So, it was only a matter of time before they decided to help promote local comic book creators and we’re just lucky to be the first to be chosen. They do want local comics to be more mainstream. National Bookstore wants more Pinoys to read more local graphic novels and this is just the beginning of their efforts to help bring such work into the spotlight.

FG: Do you want say something to all of the people that will attend your book launch this Saturday?
KB: Maraming salamat po! Sana mag-enjoy kayo!
BT: If you’ve ever read one of our books and liked it, then please come over and join us of the launch of our fourth and latest book. Me and Kajo will be there for the event. Jiggy Cruz will be hosting the launch and we’ll have a short Q&A to start off everything. Afterwards, we’ll be signing whatever you put in front of us. There’s also going to be a TRESE art exhibit. And we will reveal to everyone the brand new Trese artwork (made by Kajo, of course) which will be raffled off by National Bookstore.


“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” –George Eliot

Norby Ela

Now residing in San Diego, CA, I strive to work in art and further grow FlipGeeks around the world.