|Before Fran graduated high school, ‘42, he wrote a fan letter to Al Andriola (Kerry Drake) including a page of artwork. Andriola invited Matera to meet in his NY studio and set up an appointment for Fran to meet with editors of Quality Comics. Fran was hired on the spot to work directly after graduation. After eight months in the bullpen, Fran quit to accompany his brother to Chicago. Fran attended Chicago Art Institute (part time, pay as you go.) Anticipating their inevitable induction “Greetings letter from FDR,” the Matera brothers headed home to Connecticut to volunteer for the Marine Corp.
In boot camp, Fran was sent to contribute to designing a publication through the PR department, creating the camp newspaper “Parris Island Boot”. Matera soon tired of this and requested transfer to find "the war he joined up to fight." Fran was assigned to seaschool in Virgina and shipped out on the USS Augusta. This is the period of Truman’s involvement in the Potsdam Conference, July and August 1945. Truman visited the USS Augusta and Fran drew this portrait of Truman. Soon, the bomb was dropped, Japan surrendered and Matera was discharged.
Fran was then hired by Al Andriola to pencil the Kerry Drake Strip. Within a months time, The AP syndicate was looking for a replacement for Coulton Waugh on Milt Caniff’s “Dickie Dare.” Fran drew Dickie Dare for a two year contract, then transferred the strp to Waugh’s assistant and developed “Mr. Holiday” with his friend Chad Kelly. This strip was syndicated, but not succesfully distributed. Fran carried on with many other strips in his career
|In the early 1960's Fran worked on Treasure Chest comics and the "Chuck White and Friends" feature. Here is an example online. (and there are many more archived digitally, as well.) Fran drew many strips and comics during his prolific career including: ghosting for Rex Morgan for 3 years, Steve Roper, Bruce Lee, Mr. Holiday, drawing Tarzan and Hulk comic books for Marvel as well as numerous other work..
From 1984 to 2004, Matera illustrated the famous 'Steve Roper' daily, which was distributed by King Features.