Long-time Steve Roper and Mike Nomad artist Fran Matera has passed away at age 88. An ex-Marine, Matera specialized in realistic adventure comics in a long career that also included a run on Kerry Drake. Matera drew Roper from 1984 until it ended in 2004.

A devotee of Milton Caniff, the creator of Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon, Mr. Matera whipped up characters and the shadows behind them in a way that brought adventure scenes to life.

“He drew really well,” said Jim Amash, associate editor of the genre magazine Alter Ego and a veteran artist on several comic strips, including Brenda Starr and The Amazing Spider-Man. “His work was never flat, it was always three-dimensional. And that’s really tough to do.”



  1. Wow, great post, Gail! Would love to see a pic of that Doll Man sketch. In fact, I think it’s high time for some Doll Man reprints.

    I remember seeing and reading a lot of those stories … I think my uncle had some of the comics, possibly with the covers torn off, so they weren’t worth money, but boy I loved reading them (along with his Captain Marvel collection).

    Yeah, sure … I guess Doll Man was probably never “cool,” and wouldn’t be considered such today, but his stories were fun and inventive, qualities that sadly lack all too often nowadays.

  2. I never followed the Steve Roper strip, but I’ve seen it over the years and was always impressed by the classic draftsmanship I saw displayed. I had no idea it was still being done by one of the last surviving Golden Age artists. His passing is sad and my prayers go out to his family and friends.


    Gail Simone: That was an amazing tribute! Thanks for posting it.