History of the Presidents of Bengalla
For those who came in late
In the daily story "The Mysterious Ambassador" (Frew #1101 - 1995 & Fantomen 6/1996) Bengali was reformed into a republic, the people wanted Lamanda Luaga as their president but General Bababu tried to take the power. The Phantom however stopped Bababu. Ever since then Luaga has been the president. At least according to the Daily and Sunday strips. But there is another side to that coin which is Team Fantomen.
Team Fantomen started their own production of Phantom stories in the 1960's, this was done because the comic book Fantomen were running out of newspaper stories to use.
Most of the early Team Fantomen stories were fillers that used the lore created by Lee Falk. After a few decades the Scandinavian stories started to expand the Phantom lore with backstories to important elements of the lore like the rings and how the Phantom met Devil which were previously untouched by Lee Falk.
Editors Note: We looked into greater detail about the the Phantom lore created by Team Fantomen here.
Storyline of Team Fantomens’ Presidents
In the 1990's they wanted a new take on the ghost who walks, a darker type of stories, where the Phantom could not help President Luaga when needed.
That story arc began with a few political mistakes by President Luaga and soon he lost an election as told in stories "Election in Bengali, Part 1: The Challenger" (Frew #1079 - 1994 & Fantomen 4/1994) and "Election in Bengali, Part 2: The Loser" (Frew #1080 - 1994 & Fantomen 5/1994) .
Here is where the stories divides and is the biggest discrepancy in the two “universes”. Since then the Team Fantomen stories have depicted another president of Bengalla while the newspaper stories stick with Luaga as President.
Luaga's character changed during this time to become a more “the end justifies the means” type of person, this includes using smear tactics against Lubanga during the election. There even was the famous fight between best friends Luaga and the Phantom in the story "Hunted" (Frew #1084 - 1994 & Fantomen 9/1994) as shown in the image below.
This story ended with Luaga alone in the jungle with the Phantom walking out on him. Every phan was worried the friendship between the two was ruined for ever!
Lubanga held the President position over Bengalla until late 1996 and apart from a few sightings of Luaga, the battle was mainly between Lubanga and the Phantom. The President was always one step ahead and matched the Phantom in their battles physically and mentally. One such epic fight was in the story "Duel on Destiny Top pt 1 and pt 2" (Frew 118& 1119 - 1995 & Fantomen 13&14/1995)
After two years of ongoing stories, in late 1996 the Rodian government sets him up and he is forced to resign. He then tries to flee the country and in one last epic showdown with the Phantom in story we are led to believe he has died during their last battle.
This epic story was titled "Death of Lubanga, Part 1: The Peace Prize Winner" & "Death of Lubanga, Part 2: The Last Battle" (Frew 1162 - 1997 & 24&25/1996).
Luaga takes the presidency again at the end of the story "Death of Lubanga, Part 2: The Last Battle" (Frew 1162 - 1997 & 24&25/1996) and acts as president until 2005 where it turns out that he had secretly held Lubanga prisoner in a secret facility even after he saved Luaga's son without a trial in story "The Redeemer, Part 2: The Farm" (Frew 1429 - 2005 & Fantomen 20/2005).
Luaga then resigns and the vice president Morombe takes over the duties as acting President.
Sadly Morombe was killed two years later in the story "Return of the Commander, Part 1" (Frew #1470 - 2007 & Fantomen 4/2007) and there is a new election, one that Sandal Singh wins in story "The New President" (Frew #1491 - 2007 & Fantomen 22&23/2007).
What follows is an eventful 8 years of many adventures between Sandal Singh and the Phantom. In many of these stories, the line of good and evil is crossed by Sandal and as a reader you are not completely sure which side she sits on.
We also get a new story arc which features Sandal having a child with the biological father being up for debate. Even now we are unsure which looks like to continue as that story arc continues in the new 22nd Phantom saga where Kit believes the child is his half brother.
This all comes about because in the story "Fateful Meeting" (Frew #1605 - 2011 & Fantomen 16&17/2011) the Phantom and Sandal Singh spend the night together in the jungle. If anything happens is purely up for speculation by the reader which is probably done by design.
Sandal Singh again is victim of a political scandal and after an attack on Sandal Singh and the presidential palace while pregnant with the son, she is presumed dead by the public in "Singh War, Part 2: Rodiagate" (Frew #1759 - 2016 & Fantomen 24/2015).
Since then we do not really know what happened to the presidency, at least not until Fantomen 24/2019 which came out on 14 November around shops in Sweden and features Lamanda Luaga returning as President! (please note, this story as off November 2020, has not been published by Frew)