Name Origin: Queen Nefertiti
Date of Death: Presumably 3,500 Years Ago
Patron Goddess: Bastet
Featured In: Mummies Alive! (1997)
Voiced By: Cree Summer
While there are a great number of media featuring mummies, none are able to match the cartoon series Mummies Alive! for a variety of reasons. The chief being that the cartoon is… well, to put it mildly, a definitive product of its time, that being the 90’s. For those too young to have lived through the 90’s, let’s just say that a great number of cartoons were either a incredibly transparent copy of other, far more popular cartoons by way of exercising the same formula over and over and OVER again… Or were made entirely on the premise of selling toys. Mummies Alive! has the distinction of having been both, particularly when it came to the toy department.
The cartoon is rather infamous for its constant use of bad puns, both in episode titles and dialogue, but also for the fact that while it is surprisingly educational when it comes to the pantheon of Ancient Egypt… It is all done incredibly wrong or unbelievably silly. For example… the mummies in question mishear the phrase “kick butt” and eventually/excessively begin to use the phrase “kick Tut” in its stead. I feel the urge to smack my forehead just from writing that down.
That’s not to say that Mummies Alive! was a bad cartoon. As I said, it has a surprising number of references to Ancient Egypt Pantheon and though a number of them were done incorrectly, with evil deities like Apep becoming sympathetic, there were a few diamonds in the rough there. One particular example that sticks to my mind the most is when two gods are introducing themselves with the lesser known god, whose name sadly escapes me at this moment, goes over his many jobs and titles. His companion, Anubis, starts to do the same but is cut off shortly after he says his name with the lesser deity complaining that everyone already knows who he is.
Mummies Alive! also had a very original, for its time, premise of a boy discovering that he’s not only the reincarnation of a long dead Egyptian prince, Rapses, but that the very sorcerer who had taken his previous incarnation’s life had resurfaced and was out to complete the spell that was interrupted so many lifetimes’ past.
The boy, Presley, is guarded from the sorcerer’s attempts upon his life via the former servants who had been entombed alongside him at his death. These warriors were blessed firstly by the god Ra and secondly by their patron gods or goddesses in that not only do they live once more, though still as mummies, they can summon forth enchanted armor based on their patron deity.
Nerfer-Tina herself was something of a surprise to have been chosen as one of Presley’s guardians not only for the fact that her previous job was essentially the chariot driver/teacher of said driving to the Prince Rapses, but because she is a woman. Now, admittedly, I know next to nothing on Egyptian history and only slightly more so when it comes to their religion, and yes, I call it religion simply for the fact that is exactly what is was then and just because it isn’t to the same degree in this modern era doesn’t mean it’s any less—
Ah… Sorry, “mythology” in that regard has always been a soapbox moment for me… Where was I? Oh yes, Nefer-Tina had admitted that she had to guise herself as a man, cleverly named as “Nefer” in order to drive the royal chariots as women weren’t allowed. I’d make a joke at women drivers but honestly? Women were considered equal to men on almost every account including, but certainly not limited to, owning their own businesses, having their own jobs in or out the household, and even being able to divorce their husbands.
Of the mummies, Nefer-Tina is the only one whose patron deity is a goddess; Bastet the goddess of warfare and cats. This is plainly evident in Nefer-Tina’s armor and her choice weapon, a whip that frankly frightens me with how quickly she goes back and forth between it and the razor sharp claws on her hands. She’s not the most powerful of the mummies in sheer strength but she is easily the most adaptable of the bunch, taking the ability to drive a modern vehicle in the span of a ten minutes. Heck, out of the group, she’s the one that wholly embraces life in the modern world and rarely laments the days long past.
While I can’t say that Nefer-Tina is the most powerful mummy I had ever seen, as that distinction goes to a select few, the reason that I chose her as my own personal favorite mummy is because… Well, to be perfectly honest, because of how she and the others are designed. They don’t look like the atypical mummy nor do they look like the stereotypical. Nefer-Tina demonstrates this with the fact that she still looks like the beautiful woman she had been when she died but at the same time, you can’t mistake the fact that she’s still dead.
I don’t say this because of her ghastly blue skin, shocking white hair, or the ancient bandages still wrapped tightly, and strangely rather femininely, around her body. Its her eyes, specifically, the lines drawn under them. They’re a small detail, almost unnoticeable really, but that’s more than enough to paint the entire picture that she, and by extension her fellow mummies, are several thousand years in the grave and though alive once more, it won’t take much to send them back to the land of the dead.