French director and actor Norbert Moutier (1941-2020) was an avid Phantom reader. Or how else should we interpret the content of his massive collection of comic books?
What separates Moutier from many other collectors is that he produced many of the items in the collection himself. From 1946 to 1960, Moutier created close to 1000 comics and a total of 14,000 pages. Only between the years of 1957 and 1960 he produced roughly 120 comics and a total of 5 000 pages. This implies that Moutier finalized more than 4,5 pages per day during this period.
Each comic also contains self-made cross words, advertisements for his other comics and invented letter pages.
Moutier’s home-made comics was recently exhibited at the University of Ghent in Belgium in late November 2021. As can be seen from the attached photographs, the majority of his comics were more or less discrete copies of already existing characters.
For example Zorro has been given a new life by Moutier’s pen and so also the Lone Ranger. However, a character that seems to have struck a chord with Moutier is the Phantom – or the Demon as he is called in Moutier’s version.
Regardless of name, the mask and the suit are all too recognizable. Based on drawings of the Demon’s overcoat when leaving the jungle to walk the streets of the town like an ordinary man, Wilson McCoy seems to have been a great inspiration.
The Phantom first appearance in France was in 1938 in the comic series Aventures et Mystère, recognizable by its oversized format. The Ghost Who Walks was awarded his own comic in 1949 under the name of Le Fantôme.