Chuck White by Fran Matera
Chuck White (Treasure Chest)

Fran Matera, who came from Connecticut, took a course the Correspondence Art Institute, and landed a job as a staff artist with Quality Comics in 1942. He then enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago, but left after a year to enlist in the US Marine Corps. During his period with the marines, he continued to make cartoons for the camp newspaper. He also created the Marine Corps' comic strip 'Ship to Shore'.

In 1947, he returned to civilian life. Throughout his career, he has done a large amount of work for both comic books and newspaper strips. He started out assisting Alfred Andriola on 'Kerry Drake', before drawing Milton Caniff's 'Dickie Dare' strip. Later on, he has ghosted on Darrell McClure's 'Little Annie Rooney' and Marvin Bradley's 'Rex Morgan M.D.', as well as 'Judge Parker' and 'Apartment 3-G'.

Mr Holiday by Fran Matera
Mr Holiday (1 February 1951)

He also worked on newspaper comics of his own, such as 'Mr. Holiday', which he created with Chad Kelly for the George Matthew Adams Service syndicate in 1950-51. He drew the 'Nero Wolfe' detective strip for a while, made a movie tie-in comic strip with 'Indiana Jones' (1981) and the martial arts strip 'Legend of Bruce Lee' with Sharman DiVono and Dick Kulpa in 1982.

The Hulk, by Fran Matera

His longest-running stint on a newspaper comic was 'Steve Roper and Mike Nomad' for King Features Syndicate. Matera's first strip was the one for 8 April 1985, and he continued to draw it until its final strip on 26 December 2004. During the final year, he wrote the scripts himself, following the death of writer John Saunders.

Steve Roper, by Fran Matera

His comic book credits, running between 1950 and 1976, include the 'Chuck White' series in the 1960s issues of Treasure Chest, contributions to 'Fightin' Marines' (St. John Publications) and 'Gabby Hayes' (Charlton Comics), and inking duties on 'Hulk' and 'Tarzan' stories for Marvel. He spent his final years in Florida, and passed away in March 2012.

Steve Roper by Fran Matera

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