The work of Norbert Moutier was accidentally discovered three years ago at the Puces d’Orléans (Loiret) by Xavier Girard, former professor at ESAD, the city’s School of Art and Design. “I went there with my partner more with the idea of equipping an apartment than finding myself with a collection of comic books,” he says. However, the couple’s curiosity arouses in front of the stand of a second-hand dealer who accumulates tens of thousands of popular comics magazines from the 1940s to the 1970s: “There was a cardboard box which obviously did not interest many people, placed by earth, from which a few home-made magazines come out. Quite quickly, we assume that they come from a frenetic collector, who had to prolong his passion for the illustrated press by the manufacture of comics…”
A regular at the Puces pats him on the shoulder and puts him on the path of Norbert Moutier, a former Parisian bookseller and director of the Z series, born and deceased – in 2020, at the age of 78 – in Orléans: “I didn’t buy a comic… but the whole lot! “laughs Xavier Girard. The beginning of a – copious – collection of 1,000 booklets created between 1946 and 1960 by Norbert Moutier when he was still a child and was inspired by American heroes such as Tarzan, the Bengal ghost or Zorro. Collection that Xavier Girard continues to feed today and which was the starting point of an investigation which aroused the interest of many actors, publishers and amateurs, among the most specialized, of independent comics, fanzines, comics and bis cinema. Picsou Magazine even dedicated, in its edition of May 15, 2023, 8 pages to this major figure of the counter-culture.
Touched by the story of this personality unknown to the majority of Orléanais, the central media library of the town offers until May 27 the exhibition “Norbert and the heroes”. For his part, contacted by Columbia University in New York, Xavier Girard, who devotes all of his time to bringing this collection to life, will be going to the United States in the fall with the hope of “taking this exhibition over there, in this country which so fascinated Norbert Moutier”.