Welcome to The Diabolical!
My name is Hank. I'll be your bartender for tonight.
What will it be? Don't tell me. I know exactly what you want to drink.
So, what's on your mind? You have a story to tell?
You've come to the right place. I've got some interesting stories as well.
Have you heard the one about the ghost who walked in the bar?
The one who kept coming back, waiting for the arrival of that certain someone?
What about the guy who had coffee with his dead girlfriend?
Or the story of the spectral Christmas carolers?
And then there's that strange tale of all those senior citizens who watched the last full show and never came out.
No? Haven't heard those? Well, have another drink and I'll tell you all about it.
I just love Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldisimo's Trese graphic novels. I think it's brilliant how they are able to do a re-telling of Philippine folklore that resounds to people from almost all age groups. This time around, they have released Trese: Stories from the Diabolical, which features ghostly tales as told by Hank Sparrow, The Diabolical's resident bartender.
As Tan noted in the foreword, most of the stories were edited out in the graphic novels but were later on featured in a blog of the same title. The stories were likewise illustrated, albeit from artists such as Mark Torres and Elbert Or. The Visprint-published version on the other hand was illustrated by Baldisimo.
I read the entire book under two hours or so. Tan's stories were crisp, succinct, and straightforward that I couldn't help but turn page after page, while Baldisimo outdid himself by giving each story a different flavor with his artworks. I loved The Usual Spot story-wise (I'm a sucker for romance stories), and Coffee Black in terms of art (so Picasso-esque...but don't quote me on that :-D). The only downside was the book only had five stories. I kinda wish every Trese case had an outtake with Hank (and more Kambal cameos, please. Haha!).
While I really loved Trese: Stories from the Diabolical, I want more stories! Since this is just the first volume, maybe they could have twice the number of stories in the next release. Or better yet, how about having a full-fledged Trese novel? Who could say no to that?