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The Secret of the Skull Cave

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The Secret of the Skull Cave
Produced for: Phantom #141
# of pgs: 13
Writer: Peter Mennigen
Artist: Francisco Puerta Aparicio
Original colorist: N/A
Producer: Bastei

"The Secret of the Skull Cave" is a 1979 Bastei story, written by Peter Mennigen, with art by Francisco Puerta Aparicio.

Plot summary

Kit Walker is the sole survivor after a pirate attack on a Brittish merchant ship in 1535. He is washed ashore on an African beach. After wandering the jungle for ten days he passes out and is found by Bandars who take him to their village. The Bandar medicine man Zoran gives Kit the name "Phantom" and they nurse him back to health. The Phantom lives with the Bandar and helps them on a hunt for a man-eating leopard. The hunt leads the Phantom into a skull-shaped cave, but when he enters the cave he almost passes out and must go out again.

Meanwhile, the Bandar suspect that the Phantom has gone to the forbidden Skull Cave. Only Zoran and a few warriors dare go to the cave in search of the Phantom. However, the Phantom has discovered the secret of the cave: plants inside create a poisonous gas that kills all who enter the cave. The Phantom burns all plants in the cave and clears it of the poisonous gas, and recovers the body of the man-eating leopard.

The Phantom decides to make the Skull Cave his home, and the Bandars join him. The Bandars build a throne as a gift for their protector.


Recurring characters

One-time characters

  • Zoran of Bandar
  • Ariba of Bandar
  • Nago of Bandar


Behind the Scenes

The Oath of the Phantom according to Bastei, aswell as the first time The 1st Phantom appeared in Phantom costume.

This story differs siginificantly from previous stories about the origin of the Phantom:

  • The Singh Brotherhood is not mentioned as responsible for the pirate attack.
  • No explanation is given for the Phantom costume - it appears from out of nowhere in panel two.
  • The Phantom does not swear the Oath of the Phantom on the Skull of his father's murderer, but simply promises to himself that he will fight piracy.
  • The Bandar are not slaves of the Wasaka, and thus are not liberated by the Phantom.
  • The name "Phantom" is given by the Bandar medicine man.
  • The Phantom finds the Skull Cave by accident.
  • The Skull Throne is made as a gift by the Bandar and is not carved out of stone.


This story has been published in the following publications:

Mini germany.gif West Germany