Words: Dani Colman
Art: Rachel Petrovicz
Colors: Whitney Cogar
Letters: Jim Campbell
Have you ever gone on a school trip but then your bus turns into an eagle and your Rabbi (who was also the guardian escorting you) was really an angel who had tricked you into traveling into the Jewish afterlife? No? That just happened to Miriam and her classmates Avi, David and Judith.
The Unfinished Corner follows four Middle Schoolers who thought they were traveling to Washington for a school project. The aforementioned events happen and they find that all is not what it seems. For example, Miriam has been tasked with finishing the Unfinished Corner, the last place of Creation that God did not complete. It is a haven for Lilith’s children and the other demons that roam the world and Miriam is tasked with finishing it and potentially exiling all of its inhabitants. She’s on a journey that explores Jewish beliefs with a range of characters who represent the various ways people practice Judaism.
This graphic novel is also a great adventure. Each character plays their part, having a different connection to their Jewish identity that opens pathways and forms allyships on their journey. It’s a typical heroic journey – including a balanced party and closely kept secrets that inevitably strengthen their friendship. Each child has their own skills and strengths, but are very compassionate and kind. Maybe that’s what makes them a good team?
I don’t know much (or really anything) about Judaism besides history and some cultural representation. The beliefs and stories have not bled into the foundation of Western storytelling, so this was my first foray into Jewish mythos. Dani and her team provide educational captions throughout the book to help define terms and the morality of things. It dispels some confusion over the topics, but it’s also like “Baby’s First Jewish Story.” It holds your hand as you read.
Which: thank you, Dani! I needed my hand held! But you know what I did right afterwards? I went to my handy internet search site and looked up “Judaism” and “Unfinished Corner” and “Golem of Prague.” A door has been opened for me, one that I didn’t even question being shut.
And honestly, that’s the coolest thing a book can do: teach you something.
(P.S. I personally think that Dani has to be a forever-Dungeon-Master for D&D or something, because she is totally right that being a DM means creating beautiful worlds for people to enjoy.)