Since 1904 the NEA syndicate (NEA stands for Newspaper Enterprise Association) has provided a daily package of features for newspapers. Along with their regular menu of comics, columns, editorials, news stories and photos, they often add special bonus items for their subscribing newspapers. One of their popular bonuses used to be short run closed-end comic strips. Often these strips commemorated a holiday (NEA still distributes a special Christmas series each year), others graphically discussed hot topics in the news, or tales from history.
These specials had their heyday in the 40s and 50s, when NEA was issuing them quite often, as much as three or four per year. Here we see the first episode of Generals Who Became President, a graphical history of, well, what the title says. This was a particularly short series, running just seven episodes from 1/12 – 1/19/1953. Most such special offerings lasted 2-4 weeks. This series was timed to run the week before the presidential inauguration of one Dwight Eisenhower. Art was by Ed Kudlaty, story by Ray Ellis.
Surprisingly enough, many subscribing papers did not run these specials, making them very tough to document for Stripper’s Guide. Ironically, the newer ones are the toughest to find. Even the otherwise excellent NEA archives housed at Ohio State University’s Cartoon Research Library has few of these special strips represented.