So the Phantom lives in Bangalla, in Africa. Except it used to be called Bengali. Which, despite it's obviously Indian name, was also in Africa. Except it used to be on the Indian Subcontinent. Which is funny, because in India, Bengali is an ethnic group and a language which is shared by Northeast India and Bangladesh. Also, in India (where Phantom fandom is HUGE) the comics all say that the Phantom lives in a country called Denkali. Which is near India. Except when it's in Africa. So what's the deal??
Well, the most thorough account I've been able to find on the subject of The Phantom's shifting geography was on "The Phantom Reference Guide" :
- Way back in the 1936 story, The Singh Brotherhood, the Phantom's home was on the island of Luntok somewhere in the Indonesian archipelago (then known as the Dutch East Indies). At first mention Luntok was off the coast of Sumatra (12 June 1936), but a few days later it was off the coast of Java (15 June 1936). Perhaps it was a floating island!? Of course Luntok is a mythical place, but there is actually a village called Muntok -- it is on the island of Bangka off the coast of Sumatra. And while we're on the subject, Krakatan, the underwater hideout of the Singh Brotherhood was probably derived from the volcano Krakatoa which famously blew itself apart in 1883. Krakatoa is located between Sumatra and Java.
- Over the next few years of The Phantom strip, creator Lee Falk seemed almost anxious to have the Ghost Who Walks based somewhere in India. In his second story (the 1936-37 classic The Sky Band), the names of three flying boats were India Clipper, Bombay Clipper and Calcutta Clipper.
- Lee Falk probably accidentally answered the continental whereabouts of Morristown and Bengali in the 1964 daily story The Reef (D88). In that story, Diana writes to The Phantom and addresses her note: "Mr. Kit Walker, Box 7, Morristown, Bengali, Africa".
- Lee Falk changed Bengali to Bangalla halfway through the daily story The Witchman from 1972 (D116). Bangalla has often been spelt Bengalla, sometimes both spellings appearing within the same story! Morristown was changed to Mowiton in 1971 (D113) and then became Mawitaan in 1972 (D119).
- Maps showing the location of Bengali/Bangalla in Africa have often been very vague and contradictory. Locations near Zanzibar, Ethiopia, Kenya and Cameroon have all been indicated on maps. Incredibly, it is not even certain if Bengali/Bangalla is on the east or west coast of Africa!
- The last map of Phantom Country to appear in Lee Falk's lifetime was seen in the 1998-99 Sunday story The Floradon Mystery (S149).
So, Bangalla, Bengali, Bengalla, Bangolia, Denkali is currently in Africa where it will probably stay. No matter how many covers of The Phantom show The Ghost Who Walks wrestling tigers.