by Paul Ryan & Tom Smith
- The Mysterious Commander
- Script: Lennart Moberg
- Art: Bob McLeod
- First published in Fantomen Nr.11/2004 by Egmont, Scandinavia. Original cover shown on the left, thanks to Brian Jensen.
- Message from the Publisher:
Another new story in this issue The Mysterious Commander, written by Lennart Moberg and illustrated by Bob McLeod, with covers by Antonio Lemos.
Interesting to see the very much retired Jungle Patrol stalwart Colonel Weeks in something of a surprise role. For the record, Colonel Weeks made his first appearance with the Jungle Patrol (in a Lee Falk story) in a 1952 daily adventure entitled The Jungle Patrol. For some reason, he was called "Col James, COG" throughout that story. It seems Lee was trying to make up his mind about his future role in Jungle Patrol stories, because a character who was a mirror image of him made an appearance in the 1953-54 daily, The Super Apes and was referred to only as "Colonel". His first role as Colonel Weeks was in the 1954 Sunday adventure, The Master Spy and in that story, Colonel Weeks had a face-to-face meeting with The Phantom, but didn't realise he is the mysterious Unknown Commander. The possibility crossed his mind, but he seemed to instantly discount it!
For many years, from that story onwards, Colonel Weeks became synonymous with the Jungle Patrol.
In the 1957 Sunday adventure, The Frameup, Colonel Weeks (and Lee Falk) became a little confused. In that story he claimed to have been in the Jungle Patrol for 25 and later, 20 years.
After hearing the Unknown Commander on the telephone, he says ... "After all these years, I heard his voice on the phone - will I ever see him?" ... completely forgetting the fact that he had seen and heard The Phantom in The Master Spy!
Coming up with the idea of the Jungle Patrol was one of Lee's most inspired brainwaves. It provided him with an endless stream of plot ideas, many of which focused on the identity of the Unknown Commander and the mystery of how the Commander managed to place notes in and receive notes from the Patrol safe.
The secret entrance through the condemned well was in fact discovered by Dr Heg, who was the master spy in the story of the same name. The second person to uncover the secret was a magazine reporter named Blake in the 1960 story, The Reporter. The Phantom had answers for the discovery. Dr Heg was tracked down by The Phantom and discovered in the act of placing a false message in the Patrol safe. He was arrested, although it was not made clear in the story, and presumably jailed for life because his actions were aimed at helping organize a full-scale military invasion of the country by a foreign power. Blake, who also discovered that The Phantom was the Unknown Commander, was inducted into the Jungle Patrol with strict orders from The Phantom never to reveal what he had discovered. Blake, became a proud and fiercely loyal Patrolman and knew better than to break his vow to The Phantom!
The Mysterious Commander follows the spirit of all preceding Jungle Patrol adventures in which the spotlight is turned on the identity of the Unknown Commander. Once again, it is hard not to feel sorry for Colonel Weeks, who has faced The Phantom, occasionally considered he could be the Unknown Commander, but could never bring himself to think it possible!
Our next issue containing another new adventure - an enthralling story called The Grave Robbers - will be on sale 11 June.