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Steve Roper artist, Fran Matera, passes at age 87

Fran Matera who drew the Steve Roper adventure comic between 1984 and 2004 has passed away at the age of 87. He also drew another strip Kerry Drake and comic books such as Fightin’ Marines, Speed Demons and The Hulk.

From the Tampa Bay Times:

He never stopped trying to put his stamp on newspapers and magazines, creating new characters through his mid 80s ? some sad and frumpy, others muscular or voluptuous ? and submitting them for publication. Those efforts fill thick manila envelopes in his Safety Harbor home, where he lived and worked quietly for nearly 30 years.

Community Comments

#1 Darryl Heine
March/23/2012
@ 1:04 pm

When did the Steve Roper comic strip cease?

#2 Gerry Mooney
March/23/2012
@ 2:25 pm

“Steve Roper and Mike Nomad” was a favorite of mine back in the day, but that was before Matera took over. I do remember him though, from “Treasure Chest”, a comic book for Catholic school kids (also my first exposure to Joe Sinnott’s work, years before he started inking at Marvel).

I’d say Fran Matera had a pretty good run. He will be missed.

#3 D. D. Degg
March/24/2012
@ 5:41 am

#1-When did the Steve Roper comic strip cease?

December 26, 2004 was the last strip.

#4 Rob Morris
March/24/2012
@ 11:01 am

Pretty nice write up about Mr. Matera at the Tampa Bay Times today…

http://www.tampabay.com/news/obituaries/cartoonist-fran-matera-who-drew-steve-roper-series-dies-at-87/1221362

#5 Martin Boyer
December/9/2012
@ 1:42 pm

I am along time reader of the STEVE ROPER strip in its many revisions..(Chief Wahoo, Steve Roper, Steve Roper and Mike Nomad) I have to say that turning it over to Fran Matera was the worst thing to happen to the strip. I appreciated Matera’s style with shadows, snowfall, water based adventures, and even airplanes but I felt he didn’t do enough research on all the history and various characters of the strip.Overgaard had become disenchanted with the strip, lazy as it were, and the art deteriorated to the point of simple sketches and no fine detail that he was capable of. Matera came along and started off well but fell into long term boring stories and less than dynamic art sequences, relying more on facial shots and simplistic scenes with no eye-catching backdrops. I hated how he ended the strip and pissed on most of what Allen and John Saunders had created. He killed the strip at a time when it could have been revitalized into a new readership.

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