An old komiks character is dusted off for modern Pinoy readers

Rick Olivares

Posted at Aug 10 2018 05:25 AM

MANILA -- There a saying about art imitating life. In the case of Ian “Damy” Velasquez III, it is life imitating art.

The 42-year old former Mass Communications teacher from Far Eastern University recently published “The New DI-13” (Department of Investigations Agent Trese) during the recent Indieket at the Bayanihan Center in Pasig.

DI-13 was originally serialized in Pilipino Komiks back in the 1940s as conceived and created by the team of Damy Velasquez – the grandfather – and artist Jesse F. Santos. 

Ian “Damy” Velasquez III shows off 'The New DI-13.' Photo by author

“My grandfather Damy Velasquez and his brother Tony Velasquez were some of the pioneers of Philippine komiks,” stated the grandson. “They worked with some icons and national artists in the business from Mars Ravelo to Francisco Coching. In fact, you can find an illustration by Mr. Coching of Agent Trese in the inside from cover of the coffee table book, 'A History of Komiks in the Philippines' (published in 1985).”

The original DI-13 recounted the adventures of an agent simply called “Agent Trese” as he solved various crimes that plagued the city. 

“At first, I planned to re-print my grandfather’s works – much like Coching’s old nobelas getting a second life today in trade paperback form – as an uncle of mine recently unearthed my lolo’s old works,” bared Damy. 

“I attended a komiks camp by the people who organize Komikon and one of the requirements was to produce an original komiks. That’s when it finally dawned upon me to continue my grandfather’s work.”

The original series ended back in the early 1950s. So, is the new series a retro book?

“It is actually set in modern Philippines and this time, the agent is the grandson of the original Agent Trese,” revealed Velasquez with a chuckle. “Modern times and modern crimes.”

Life imitates art.

“Exactly,” laughed Velasquez. “But as an old time comic book fan this is a gratifying experience to be able to continue a legacy.”

The new comic published under the banner, Triple D Publishing, is also a family thing. Damy’s brother, Tommy, is doing all the art work. 

“We just released the Zero Issue with the regular first issue planned for either late this year or early next year,” summed up Damy. “We hope to do our grandfather proud. And of course, the Filipino comic book fan.”

Interested comic book fans may check out the Facebook page, “The New DI-13” for more information and how to purchase copies of the comic.