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The Tyrant of Tarakimo

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The Tyrant of Tarakimo
Start date: August 15th, 1977
End date: October 29th, 1977
# of strips: 66 (11 weeks)
Writer: Lee Falk
Artist: Sy Barry
Original colorist: N/A
Preceded by: "Guardian of the Eastern Dark"
Followed by: "Phantom Wedding"

"The Tyrant of Tarakimo" is the 135th Phantom daily story. The story was written by Lee Falk and drawn by Sy Barry.

Plot synopsis

Diana is becoming bored with her desk job at the UN and is both intrigued and horrified by reports of General Tara's atrocities in Tarakimo. She petitions Dr. Henry to go along with Sven Nilsson, another UN agent, to Tarakimo. Dr. Henry refuses, and Diana must go through several physical contests to prove that she is capable of taking care of herself.

As Diana and Sven are met by Tara's legion of soldiers at the airport, it is disclosed that a newsman, MacGregor, is also in the country, secretly sending out stories of the general's foul deeds. Diana and Sven are stalled for as long as possible, then shown Tara's prison, where fake "prisoners" are shown sleeping till noon and eating steak in their beautifully furnished "cells". Meanwhile, the Phantom slowly uncovers the danger Diana is in, and travels to Tarakimo.

Diana and Sven are thrown a packet of paper from a nearby prison tower. The exchange is briefly witnessed by Tara's lead henchmen and "right hand" Major Isamu but denied by Diana and Sven.

When Diana and Sven finally are granted an audience with the general, they are dismayed and disgusted to learn they are expected to crawl on their hands and knees before his throne. While Sven reluctantly concedes, Diana is much more vocal in her protesting, though she finally relents after Sven convinces her that they won't get anywhere by angering the dictator. Finally, Diana has enough of the humiliation and jumps to her feet. She tells the general she is in no mood for his degrading games, and that they are wise to his intimidation tactics and lies.

Isamu's lackeys present evidence that papers incriminating the general in hundreds of cases of murder and torture were passed to the UN team. General Tara, enraged, orders Diana and Sven to surrender the papers. They refuse, telling him the papers are long gone, en route to the UN. Tara refuses to believe them, and orders their hotel rooms torn apart, and the two strip searched. He vows to resolve the problem with force and orders their arrests. They will, he says, see his prison, just as they want, but "from the inside."

After some time, Diana and Sven are taken from their prison cells at gunpoint by Isamu and shown to Tara's torture room, where the general is closely watching via TV camera. Isamu tells them that if they sign a confession stating they are spies "telling lies" about the great general, they will be released, but if not, Isamu and his assistants will "persuade" them to cooperate. Diana and Sven remain defiant as they are chained to a torture rack and a whipping post, respectively, and the General orders his goons to begin the interrogation.

The Phantom reaches the General as he is enjoying the torture session on a TV in his comfortable palace office. He orders the General to call off the torture and send for Diana and Sven.

The Phantom decides to take Tara hostage to ensure a safe escape. After the group has taken off on a plane, the general is pushed out with a parachute.


Recurring characters

One-time characters

  • Sven
  • Macgregor, journalist



Old Jungle Sayings

  • There are times when the Phantom leaves the jungle and enters the town as an ordinary man.
  • Voice of angry Phantom can freeze tiger's blood.

Related stories

Followed by

Referenced in


  • Tarakimo is said to be a country in Asia.

Behind the scenes

  • Lee Falk has been quoted as saying in The Phantom #1000 that "The Tyrant of Tarakimo" and "Return to Tarakimo" (the story's sequel) were his personal "statements" on the growing number of harsh third-world dictatorships fueled by torture cartels.
  • "The Tyrant of Tarakimo" was finished by an unknown inker. If you examine the strip closely, you will see marked changes in Tara and Diana's appearance following the scene where Diana, Sven, and MacGregor are brought to the general's office, after Tara has been captured by the Phantom.


This story has been published in the following publications:

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  • Tíminn March 31, 1978 – June 25, 1978

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  • El Informador November 28, 1977 – December 17, 1977 (incomplete)

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