Saturday, January 14, 2006

Jun Lofamia, Trese

Jun Lofamia
"Hardin" Illustration
From poetry by Tony Talan Vargas
Liwayway Magazine
January 16, 2006

Jun Lofamia continues to amaze in an illustration that is worth the price of the magazine alone. You also get some great art from Hal Santiago (who's really bringing it with his cool water color art), Rico Rival, Abe Ocampo, Rod Lofamia and others.

written by Budjette Tan
illustrated by Ka-Jo Baldisimo
Alamat Comics

Apologies go to my good friend Budjette Tan, as I wasn't able to pick this up back during the Komikon. I always meant to buy a copy at Comicquest Megamall when I had the chance, but I've never been back to Comicquest or Megamall for that matter, for the last five months. It was the first thing I was going to get as soon as I got back.

Surprisingly, Budjette decided to upload the entirety of Trese #1 at Like I often said, it's difficult for me to read comics online, but this story proved to be so compelling that I read through the entire story's 20 pages in one sitting.

I have to amend my initial assesment of best Philippine comics of 2005 as this easily ranks among the best of them. I'm not saying this only because Budjette is a friend, but this truly is one terrific comic book. Sparsely written, you are easily drawn into the reality of this world, where everything is taken as a matter of fact. Not everything is explained, like who is this, or what is that, which is a good thing because the story is written cleverly enough that you get to know these things as the story progresses. This helps keep the story moving along, unhampered by unecessary exposition.

There is not an awkward moment in the writing, a weakness that I see often in local comics in recent years. The story is neatly wrapped up by the end of the issue, making it feel like a particularly good TV show, where you just can't wait to see the adventures of these characters the next time around.

The great thing is, issue #2 is already available, with #3 already on the way.

I'm very happy for Budjette that he's finally making comics, after fretting for years about wanting to do them again. Not just comics, mind you, but excellent, well done comics. It's fortuitous that he was able to shanghai an artist willing to stick with the series. And not just any artist. Ka-Jo Baldisimo is pretty good. If there's a comparision I could even make with regards to the artwork, then it feels like the first few issues of Sandman, but actually even better in some places.

All in all, I think TRESE deserves far more than just the mini-comic treatment. This is one comic book that needs to be read by a lot more people, a story that needs to be distributed much more widely.

Last but not least, it's from ALAMAT Comics! YEAH!!

Congrats, Budj! You can count on me to go and buy the dead tree editions as soon as I get to Megamall, which is SOON, I hope! Dave and I have to meet.