"Llongo's Amulet" - story by Donne Avenell and art by Heiner Bade.
Cover art by Antonio Lemos.
Story : Llongo’s Amulet is one of those stories published firstly in Sweden by Semic and Team Fantomen in July 1979. Since then it has enjoyed many reprints internationally in countries as diverse as West Germany, Spain, Finland, Brazil, Norway and Denmark. The first appearance was in Fantomen 15/1979 and the inset cover pictured was by Rolf Gohs. Gohs moved from Poland to Sweden as a 13 year old and began his career as cover artist for Fantomen in 1957. Since then he has produced over 900 covers for them.
The writer of LLongo’s Amulet, Donne Avenell is a British comic writer who met Norman Worker during his early days with IPC. It was through that contact that his working relationship with Semic Press began. He became a Phantom script writer for them in the 70s and rapidly gained popularity with the readers. The story’s artist is Heiner Bade, a German artist born in Hamburg who began drawing the Phantom in 1975. Last year he celebrated 40 years as a Phantom artist.
It has taken us 37 years to arrive at our own reprint of this story here in Australia. The co-operation and support that we are now receiving from Andreas Eriksson at Egmont has allowed us access to some of these archival stories which for some unknown reason were never previously brought to Australia. Perhaps the scantily clad girls of the harem were judged a little too raunchy for the times and sensibility of the readership back in 1979, more likely it was overlooked in favour of a reprint of a Lee Falk original. It must have been difficult back then to choose a Swedish story over an American classic after all. It still is today, but in those days it would have been like listening to a cover band rather than the original. The Scandinavian output has been so prolific over many years and the quality of their stories and art has earned them a seat at the table as true disciples of Falk.
Every time I see one of these unpublished stories come through from Egmont it feels as though we have just opened a vault and unearthed a secret treasure. Llongo’s Amulet tells the tale of a sailor Toby Smith who had the most incredibly bad luck until one day he helps save a girl from a crocodile. The girl turns out to be the Llongo chief’s daughter. He is rewarded with a lucky amulet which reverses his fortunes and leads to him becoming the wealthy ruler of a mountain kingdom. The wealth and power bring complications that Toby cannot deal with.