The Smuggler King

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The Smuggler King
Produced for: Phantom Spezial #18
# of pgs: 28
Writer: Peter Mennigen
Artist: Paolo Morales
Original colorist: unknown
Producer: Bastei

"The Smuggler King" is a 1980 Bastei story, written by Peter Mennigen and with art by Paolo Morales. It is one of very few Bastei stories where the name of the artist is known, thanks to signing the artwork in several places.

Plot summary

The Phantom observes a helicopter flying over the jungles of Bangalla. The helicopter carries armed men that land by a road and force a car off a cliff. The Phantom arrives in time to see that the people in the car survived the crash, and follows the armed men. He jumpos on borad the helicopter when it takes off, but is knocked down and falls into a river.

When the Phantom returns, the injured people have just been questioned by the police and are sent off to the hospital. They were John and Nancy Miller, a rich couple whose daughter was kidnapped 17 years ago. The Phantom speaks with Police Officer Potter (who appears to be a previous acquaintance) and shows a medallion taken from one of the armed men. The medallion is marked with the symbol of Tai-Li's smuggler ring. Coincidentally the police plan to raid one of Tai-Li's ships that night, and the Phantom is invited to join.

As the police raid the ship, one of the smugglers takes a crate and escapes on a motorboat. The Phantom jumps on the motorboat but is thrown overboard. He later tracks the smuggler to a bar in Chinatown. There he meets Mary, a blond girl whose adopted mother is the bar owner San-Lo. After a fight, the Phantom leaves the bar but sneeks back through a window at the back. There, he finds a crate that looks like the one he saw earlier, and finds that it contains bags of pure heroin.

The Phantom also observes as San-Lo meets Kiro, Tai-Li's henchman. Kiro brings a message that Tai-Li wants to marry San-Lo's daughter Mary. San-Lo is honored and the Phantom follows as Mary is taken on board a ship by Kiro and San-Lo. The Phantom sneaks on board the ship that sails towards Bangalla's neighbouring country Kampana. At dawn, the Phantom tries to rescue Mary but they are discovered by Kiro. The Phantom swiftly defeats Kiro, and takes both Kiro and Mary with him to swim ashore. Kiro serves as their guide to find the nearest city, but he betrays them and captures the Phantom in a trap along the way. Now, the Phantom and Mary are being taken to Tai-Li's fortress in the mountains as prisoners.

When they are sent in to meet Tai-Li, they find that the Smuggler King is none other than Kiro. The Phantom is thrown in a hole filled with cobras. As the Phantom fghts for his life, Tai-Li prepars Mary for their wedding ceremony, which will be performed according to muslim traditions. When the Phantom manages to escape the cobras, he takes the place of the mullah who would perform the wedding ceremony. In the middle of the wedding, the Phantom surprises Tai-Li and his henchmen. He contacts officer Potter who arrives with the police at Tai-Li's fortress. Mary is reunited with her parents, and the Phantom donates the reward for finding her to an orphanage in Morristown.


Recurring characters

One-time characters

  • John Miller
  • Nancy Miller
  • Commissioner Potter
  • Mary Miller
  • San-Lo
  • Kiro/Tai-Li






Old Jungle Sayings



This story has been published in the following publications:

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