Year two of Baron Bean picks up right where year one left off, at the start of 1917 (after New Year's Day holiday, that is). It's a year in on Baron Bean, and the work here shows that Herriman clearly felt more at home with the characters and set-up that he had established. In the strips collected in this volume he confidently tackles serious questions concerning the relationship of social status to race, ethnicity, religion, career, habitual behavior and many other variables the social worth and merit of which the society of the day takes for granted but which Herriman clearly believes are open to question. He demonstrates here that so much of what is "taken as given" is merely a façade, and one that is often, if not ususally, poorly constructed, at that. Herriman takes great joy in knocking these over with with clear cut cartoon gags. In strip after strip he punctures pomoposities of European "airs" of social status and class, revealing them to indeed be built upon the thin air of imaginary ethnic and racial superiorities that time and again are shown to be empty assumptions carrying no weight in the new world of America that he is working to make manifest. This volume opens with another insightful essay by Jared Gardner, which touches on these themes and places them within the proper historical context. Great reproduction makes this oversize horizontal volume another treat. Don't miss it!