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GCD Comics Timeline
Francis A. "Fran" Matera (December 9, 1924 - March 15, 2012) was an American comic strip artist best known for his King Features Syndicate adventure strip Steve Roper and Mike Nomad from 1984 to 2004. In addition to his extensive experience in newspaper strips, Matera also spent many years in the comic book industry, particularly for Charlton Comics. His influences include Hal Foster, Alex Raymond, Milton Caniff, Al Capp, and Bud Fisher.
Between 1950 and 1976, Matera drew hundreds of comic book stories and covers. In the 1950s, he contributed to St. John Publications' Fightin' Marines and Charlton Comics' Gabby Hayes and Speed Demons. In 1959, he helped initiate the Catholic school comic book Treasure Chest, drawing all the editorial content in the Treasure Chest Advance Edition comic given to teachers and school administrators in introduce the concept. He was the initial artist on writer-creator Max Pine's long-running feature "Chuck White" (later "Chuck White and His Friends"), contributing to that schoolboy's naturalistic family drama through 1971.
Beginning with the strip for April 8, 1985, Matera began his two-decade run drawing Steve Roper and Mike Nomad, which had been titled simply Steve Roper from 1947 to 1969. The series originated as the comedy strip Big Chief Wahoo in 1936, but supporting character Steve Roper edged into the title in 1944, with the dramatic adventure renamed Chief Wahoo and Steve Roper. Wahoo was written out in 1947, and Nomad was added in 1956. Matera additionally wrote the final year of Steve Roper and Mike Nomad, following writer John Saunders' death in November 2003. The final strip ran December 26, 2004.
Fran Matera in the Grand Comics Database:
In 1942, he joined Hillman Periodicals, where he drew such features as "Iron Ace" (from its premiere in Air Fighters Comics vol. 1, #2, Nov. 1942), "Boy King" and "Gunmaster", and the following year began work on his most prominent Golden Age character, Airboy. That aviation hero, created by writer Charles Biro with scripter Dick Wood and artist Al Camy, appeared initially in Air Fighters Comics, later renamed Airboy Comics. Aside from Airboy himself, the feature was known for the sexy antagonist Valkyrie, a cleavage-baring Axis aviatrix who soon defected and became his ally.
Kida remained on the feature through 1948.
Fred Kida in the Grand Comics Database:
In addition to his naturalistic work adapting live-action television, Spiegle also handled more cartoony material such as Gold Key's Saturday-morning TV animation title, Hanna-Barbera Scooby Doo... Where Are You!, starting with issue #16 (Feb. 1973). Five issues later marked his first teaming with writer Mark Evanier, with whom he would continue to final Gold Key issue, #30 (Feb. 1975). The two worked on the character again from 1977 to 1979 when Marvel Comics licensed the property, doing all nine issues of Scooby-Doo, and reprised their team-up in 1996 when Archie Comics acquired the Scooby-Doo license.
Spiegle later moved to DC Comics and worked on many of their features, such as Batman, Unknown Soldier, Tomahawk, Jonah Hex and Teen Titans, until the early 1990s. His most notable work was the Nemesis backup series in The Brave and the Bold with writer Cary Burkett, and on Blackhawk with Mark Evanier. He and writer Bob Rozakis created the character Mister E in Secrets of Haunted House #31 (Dec. 1980).
Although the character Crossfire was created by Mark Evanier and Will Meugniot in DNAgents published by Eclipse Comics, Spiegle penciled and inked every issue of the comic book Crossfire, as well as Crossfire and Rainbow, and Whodunnit?, which featured Crossfire. Evanier and Spiegle also did all five issues of Hollywood Superstars for Marvel's Epic Comics imprint.
Dan Spiegle in the Grand Comics Database:
Dan DeCarlo in the Grand Comics Database:
After graduating from high school in Fort Wayne, Indiana, he attended Fort Wayne Art School. He also received a year of training at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts before spending five years working for Chester Gould on Dick Tracy.
He met Frank King while in Chicago, sharing a studio with him while drawing his own strip from 1936 to 1942: initially known as Jim Hardy, it later became Windy and Padles.
That was followed by 14 years working for Disney, drawing Uncle Remus and later Scamp and a short period in the 1950s at Western Publishing drawing funny animal comic books. The best known of these is the Mickey Mouse story "The Wonderful Whizzix" (Four Color #427, Oct. 1952), which some regard as the inspiration for the Disney's The Love Bug.
Moores moved to Florida when he was hired by Frank King in 1956 to assist him on the Gasoline Alley dailies. King's former assistant Bill Perry had taken over doing the Sunday strip in 1951. Moores' signature began to appear on the strip in 1964, and when King died in 1969, Moores assumed writing and drawing duties for the daily strip. When Perry retired in 1975, Moores added the Sunday strip to his workload and combined the stories into one continuing story.
Moores relocated near Asheville, North Carolina, where he spent the rest of his life. In his later years, Moores composed stories, penciled faces and sketched the action, and then sent the strips to another artist for inking, such as his assistant, Jim Scancarelli, who took over the strip upon his death.
Dick Moores in the Grand Comics Database:
After a series of legal battles between 1912 and 1914, Dirks left the Hearst organization and began a new strip, first titled Hans und Fritz and then The Captain and the Kids. It featured the same characters seen in The Katzenjammer Kids, which was continued by Knerr. The two separate versions of the strip competed with each other until 1979, when The Captain and the Kids ended its six-decade run. The Katzenjammer Kids is still distributed by King Features, making it the oldest comic strip still in syndication and the longest-running ever.
The Katzenjammer Kids in the Grand Comics Database:
With a letter of introduction from a local Episcopal clergyman, the 18-year-old Sterrett moved to New York, where he enrolled in the Chase Art School for two years of study. He signed on at the New York Herald in 1904 as a staff art assistant and submitted cartoons to the New York Telegram, embarking on his first comic strips: Ventriloquial Vag, Merry Ha-Ha, When a Man’s Married, Before and After and For This We Have Daughters. Leaving the Telegram, he drew illustrations for The New York Times.
At the New York Evening Journal he launched Polly and Her Pals (originally called Positive Polly) in 1912. By the mid-1920s, Sterrett had turned the daily strip over to others (notably Paul Fung and Vernon Greene) in order to concentrate on the Sunday strip. Sterrett also created the Sunday topper strips Dot and Dash and Belles and Wedding Belles.
As the 1920s continued, Sterrett's work was increasingly influenced by the abstract art of that decade, incorporating "striking patterns of abstraction much in the style of cubism and surrealism." Coulton Waugh regarded this as an innovative step forward, noting that Sterrett's style "appeared in Polly long before modern art was accepted by American art critics."
Cliff Sterrett in the Grand Comics Database:
Carlos Meglia in the Grand Comics Database:
Lewis Trondheim was first known as the author of Les formidables aventures de Lapinot (translated to English as The Spiffy Adventures of McConey). He invented the character in the late 1980s as a way to learn cartooning. The result was an initial 500 page graphic novel, Lapinot et les carottes de Patagonie. All the while, he was publishing short stories for the satirical French magazine Psikopat.
After his book Slaloms was awarded the Alph'Art Coup de coeur in 1993, Trondheim was offered to bring his burgeoning series to a major publisher, Dargaud, while he continued churning out more personal books for L'Association and other independent French publishers. From there, Trondheim began to enjoy a steady rise in popularity.
The following years represented a period of increasing activity, as Trondheim began to work on many different projects. He first created La Mouche ("The Fly") for the Japanese market, and then redrew a French version from scratch, after which the character was adapted as an animated cartoon.
Trondheim's greatest breakthrough after Lapinot is arguably Dungeon (in French, Donjon), an ambitious series which he created with Joann Sfar, and which has enjoyed popular success.
Lewis Trondheim in the Grand Comics Database:
Lulu was born in 1935, when The Saturday Evening Post asked Buell to create a successor to the magazine’s Henry — Carl Anderson's stout, mute little boy — who was moving on to national syndication. The result was Little Lulu, the resourceful, equally silent (at first) little girl whose loopy curls were reminiscent of the artist’s own as a girl. Buell explained to a reporter, “I wanted a girl because a girl could get away with more fresh stunts that in a small boy would seem boorish.”
The Little Lulu panel continued to run weekly in The Saturday Evening Post until December 30, 1944. Buell retained the rights, unusual for the time. In 1950, Little Lulu became a daily syndicated comic strip. Buell marketed Little Lulu widely throughout the 1940s. The character appeared in comic books, animated cartoons, greeting cards and more. Little Lulu comic books, popular internationally, were translated into Arabic, Dutch, Finnish, French, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish and Greek.
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