While I was initially lured in to Meaghan’s Carter’s Godslave by the promise of ancient Egyptian mythology and a butt-kicking heroine, what really clinched it for me is Carter’s Library Friday posts, where she digs into her background research for the comics and posts some sweet pictures of the stacks in the Royal Ontario Museum library. Her enthusiasm for libraries, old books, and in-depth historical research tugged at this former academic’s heartstrings and gave me a real hankering to visit some of Chicago’s antiquities museums. But I digress—back to the comic!
Edith is a bit of a layabout, so when her roommate, Alma, hands her some free tickets to the museum for the day, she reluctantly accepts them, if only to get Alma off her back. Edith is aimlessly browsing the Ancient Egypt exhibit amid a crowd of school kids when she bumps into a mysterious gentleman (surely in the middle of some shady deal with a museum curator) who’s holding a priceless canopic jar. That bump is a literal one, but Edith is graceful enough to catch the jar before it shatters on the floor. Unfortunately, it still shatters, just in her lap. And there’s a surprise inside: not the desiccated remains of an extracted organ but a living creature.
That creature is none other than the Egyptian god Anubis—or, rather, Anpu, since he objects to the Greek version of his name—and the mysterious stranger originally holding the jar is very unhappy he has escaped. Edith, too, becomes the object of his ire, but Anpu does something mysterious and magical, imbuing her with super strength and the skills to wield an ancient weapon.
Bewildered Edith battles her foe, a Blacksmith, and she and Anpu eventually escape (after only committing minor damage to the antiquities—phew!). So what exactly is happening here? Anpu explains that the Blacksmiths are agents of Heru, who, in the interest of avoiding death altogether, stole all Anpu’s power and trapped him in the jar, preventing him from escorting Heru to the afterlife. Anpu’s power is housed in nine Ba, one of which he placed in Edith, which has given her unnatural power, and the other eight are scattered elsewhere, and he needs to collect them to regain his strength.
But Edith’s a part of Anpu’s plan now, too, and she’s suddenly in danger of being captured by Heru’s army. That’s not her only problem, though. She also has to convince her roommate that Anpu is just an adorable dog, not God of the Underworld, and pick up some more shifts at her job so she can make rent. Her real life doesn’t stop just because marauding creatures from Ancient Egypt have roped her into their centuries-long beef. (At least her roommate won’t need too much convincing.)
Carter’s combination of action-packed panels, well-researched mythology, and frequent comical banter makes for a winning, effortlessly diverse story. Her artwork both replicates the style of Ancient Egyptian art while still appearing beautifully modern, and her use of color highlights key moments and amplifies tension. It’s a very cinematic effect, and her pacing only makes the action more enticing. Carter updates twice a week, with extra library posts intermittently (including bibliographies!).