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Patrick Horvath reflects on Eisner Awards nomination for 'Beneath the Trees Where Nobody Sees'

Comic Books

Patrick Horvath reflects on Eisner Awards nomination for ‘Beneath the Trees Where Nobody Sees’

Patrick Horvath’s weird murder book has clearly had an effect.

The Eisner Awards nominations were announced last week, including 13 nominations for IDW titles. Chief among those 13 noms was Patrick Horvath’s Beneath the Trees Where Nobody Sees, which was nominated for best new series. That’s certainly no surprise to this comics journalist when I said months ago that if “IDW Originals continues to put out comics like Beneath the Trees Where Nobody Sees, many Eisner Awards are in their future.”

But it’s not that I’m Nostradamus; Beneath the Trees Where Nobody Sees is just that good. If you’re not familiar by now, the series follows a serial killer whose life is upended when a rival murderer starts slaying in their quaint suburban town. Horvath writes and draws the book, which features anthropomorphic animals straight out of a children’s book. All of that together is clearly why Beneath the Trees Where Nobody Sees has been making such massive waves in comics in recent months.

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Just after the Eisner nominations dropped, I sat down with Horvath to get some insight into the future of Beneath the Trees Where Nobody Sees. If you like the book, you’re going to really admire and adore its creator.

Patrick Horvath reflects on Eisner Awards nomination for 'Beneath the Trees Where Nobody Sees'

Courtesy of IDW.

AIPT: First off, congratulations on the Eisner nomination. Much deserved!

Patrick Horvath: Thank you kindly, I really appreciate that!

AIPT: The first question that comes to mind is…best new series…when/will we see more of Beneath the Trees Where Nobody Sees?!

PH: As soon as I was finishing up the first issue, I realized there was so much potential with this world and these characters. I’d love a chance to do more, and IDW has been extremely supportive, but nothing has been set-up yet so we’ll have to wait and see. I really hope so though.

AIPT: Letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou also worked on the book and is nominated for best lettering. What do you think Hassan brought to your series to give it that extra edge?

PH: Hassan’s nomination is well deserved. He’s easily one of the best out there, and I’m still so grateful that he agreed to letter this book. His work is always playful and inventive, and he always manages to tune into the wavelength of the book and enrich the performances and tone. I particularly love all of the little touches that he includes throughout (in character performances and their psychological nuances in particular), and the cumulative effect in Beneath the Trees is that it fleshes out the people of this world as well as the squirming mind of Samantha.

Beneath The Trees

Courtesy of IDW.

AIPT: With the first story arc under your belt, has your perception of the story changed at all since first pitching it?

PH: Having reached the end and looking back at the outline I mapped out when I first presented the whole story to IDW, I’m surprised to see that a lot of the ideas were already there in the beginning. A lot of them were broad strokes, but it included the stranger and darker parts of the story. As I went about the process of fleshing it all out, it went a lot deeper emotionally than I was expecting, but I felt like that emotional element was going to be really necessary for it to work.

AIPT: Why do you think people connected with Beneath the Trees Where Nobody Sees?

PH: There’s the nostalgic storybook element to it that I think is doing some work, as well as the intriguing blasphemous angle of having such horrible stuff happen to these adorable folks. That said, I think another part of the connection has to do with tapping into that interior life that we all have. Obviously it’s a strange move to try and identify with a serial killer, but looking a little more abstractly, I think it’s a universally relatable situation when you have an existential threat show up out of the blue and up-end your life.

AIPT: For those attending the awards, might we see you at the Eisner’s to pick up the trophy?!

PH: Ha! Well, who knows who’s going to pick up that trophy, but I’ll certainly be there to cheer on whoever wins and try not to stare at all of the wildly talented people whose work I’ve been admiring for a very long time.

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