Justine Hanzlicek (née Silverman)

Mother to Janie and Natasha, and wife to Mátyás, Justine was born in the United States and was daughter to the former boss of her future spouse. Taking a liking to the young migrant from the Old World, the pair soon fell in love and were married, helping to create a home for themselves in rural Connecticut.

Of all the characters to write, Justine was among the hardest. Although writing a ‘good mom’ character is something generally easy, it was again a situation where I wanted to ensure she had enough lines in order to keep her part of the general flow of the story, and not just hanging on by a threat or being a silent background character. The main concern with her came down to the fact that, being surrounded by big personalities with a larger presence in the story such as Mátyás, Janie and Natasha, she’d drift away and become part of the scenery with no personality of her own to speak of.

In that regard, at many points in the story, I have created scenes where she is left alone with the main characters in order to give her more of a fleshing out and develop her natural maternal instinct when it comes to her place as a parent, both to her children and also their friends.

In terms of backstory, Justine was by far the simplest. She’s a nice lady from a rich, Jewish background who finds a soft spot for the rugged, mysterious Mátyás as he established himself in American society, soon developing a romance that led to marriage, while also being the source of his own wealth when her father handed the keys of the logging firm to him.

While not showing their relationship in any spectacular detail, confined to a single flashback, I wanted to establish certain traits in her that would be carried over to her children, namely that she was something of an outdoorsy gal, driving up and down the treeline delivering refreshments and beverages to the loggers, and in so doing starting to become acquainted with her future husband.

Overall, while Justine and Mátyás’ story is not the focus of the comic, I felt that she was still deserving of a bit more detail in her backstory that just the ‘good mom’ stereotype, developing her personality in a manner that would help understand why she and her daughters are the way they are.