Aside from the normal day-after nature of newspapers, the actual beginning of the war was not as clear-cut at the time as it seems to have been in retrospect. There was a full month between the assassination in Sarajevo and the mobilisation that is considered the "start" as this centennial begins.
Anyway, I popped the comic up on Facebook as a curiosity, but later decided to go back and poke around in the papers from a century ago and see what else I could come up with. What I found was a lot of "uh-oh" and nobody suggesting any remedies.
Well, mostly "uh-oh."
Satterfield was working in Cleveland, and I was finding his cartoons in the Rock Island (Ill) Argus, so it's possible that this piece was actually two or three days old and that things had become more serious between the time he drew it and the time it appeared there.
But "Gen. War Scares" had been running around in the aftermath of the assassination, and so it was reasonable to take a conservative view of the outcome and assume it would be a dust-up here and some bloody noses there and then someone would sort it all out.
Still, Satterfield showed a persistence in what was almost a "war-denial," and I wonder if his cute little trademark bear was indicative of a purposefully light approach or if it was not purposeful but simply his view of the world.
Even as the potential grew for other nations to be pulled in, Satterfield retains a light touch, though now you can see that he is making a significantly more serious point despite the sunny style that is his trademark.
As it happens, however, when I was trying to find out the name of that bear mascot, I came across a Satterfield panel from a year later, with a far grimmer tone and no little bear at all. I wonder what intervened that so changed his approach?
Oscar Cesare was not the only cartoonist to bring Mars into the conversation, and he did so two days before that bomb-and-angel panel appeared. The poem underneath isn't something I've seen a lot of with cartoons -- though Nast did it when James Garfield died -- but it was common to drop these little accent pieces into text throughout the 19th century and you still saw it in literature of the early 20th.
This cartoon isn't anonymous, but with that signature it might as well be, at least to me. In any case, it represents a mash-up of Mars and Death and mocks the month-long discussions that had taken place between the assassination and the actual outbreak.
And when Weed brought Mars into the conversation, he provided a far more stark cutline than Cesare's quatrain. He seems to anticipate Wilfred Owen and Seigfried Sassoon, voices that would not emerge until the trenches were filled and the shells and gas had been unleashed.
Apparently the matter was on more minds than just Powell's, and the backstory on this Clive Weed panel is a remarkable look back at a world long past: Concerned about foreign investors liquidating their holdings, the New York Stock Exchange shut down July 31 for what turned out to be a four-month period. The other exchanges around the globe followed suit.
It would not happen again until Wall Street itself was attacked in 2001, and then trading only halted for three days.
I wonder what else we lost in that war?