by Rolf Gohs
- Son of the Pirate Queen Pt.3: The Goddess of Death
- Script: David Bishop
- Art: César Spadari
- First published in Fantomen Nr.18/2005 by Egmont, Scandinavia. Original cover shown on the left, thanks to Ulf Granberg.
- Message from the Publisher:
Presenting - the climax of Son of the Pirate Queen - The Goddess of Death! In this adventure, many readers will learn something of Kali - the Goddess of Death, who was worshipped by the dreaded Thuggee sect. Kali existed only in the minds of the Thuggees, but the sect was real enough and until stamped out by British authorities in India, created havoc all over the country.
Exactly who formed The Thuggees and when, is not known, but it is most likely that an Indian religious fanatic became insane enough to imagine he was being directed by Kali, whom he described as the "goddess of destruction". The fanatic gathered together a group of friends and told them what he obviously believed to be true - that Kali had created two men to whom she taught the ritual of strangulation. He then taught them what he knew about strangulation using what was known as a bhuttote and they began to travel in groups, joining small parties on what was once known as India's grand Trunk Road. They strangled and robbed thousands of innocent travellers for more than 500 years and feeling no remorse, felt they were divinely appointed to murder travellers "just as a tiger feeds on deer".
In the early 1800s, more than 4000 Thuggees were captured and their practice was thought to have ended by the end of the 19th century. Those Thuggees who were executed went to their end still proclaiming the power of their Goddess Kali. The British police officer Captain William Sleeman, who was mainly responsible for crushing the Thuggees, wanted all of them executed because he was convinced once any of their members swore allegiance to Kali, they would be a Thuggee for life.
Lee Falk touched upon the Thuggees in a daily and Sunday story in 1949-50 (both were called The Thuggees), but with his family audience in mind, had to tone down the macabre details of this violent cult. Refer to the daily story from 22 Aug 1949 - 25 Feb 1950 (Frew #1234) and the similar Sunday story from 28 Aug 1949 -19 Feb 1950 (Frew #982), in addition to the Return of the Thuggees from 20 May 1990 - 11 Aug 1991 (Frew #992).
The Goddess Kali was not featured in those stories, but the depictions in the story you are about to read are close to identical to all known illustrations. Kali was always depicted with a contorted face, oversize and protruding, lizard-like tongue - and four arms! Not exactly a pretty sight!
Whether we will again see Chris, the son of the Pirate Queen is anybody's guess. At the end of this adventure, Chris makes it perfectly clear he has no wish to take over as the Phantom. I think it best he now fades out of The Phantom's life. The manner in which he appeared on the scene is completely outside official Lee Falk history. Check out all the Frew editions concerning the Pirate Queen and the birth of Chris and you will get the message!
Our next edition goes on sale on October 14 and will showcase another new adventure when we return to the mysterious departure of Diana and the children from the jungle. You will recall that in Diana Disappears - Pt 2 (Frew #1425), Diana, Kit and Heloise returned to the United States. The Phantom, worried out of his mind about the situation, is hot on their trail, but while he has some clues, he is unsure of their exact location! Look for Diana's Dilemma - Frew #1428! The drama continues!