Conservation Radicale

As the market for vintage and rare comics reaches astronomical prices, comics collectordom has its own mechanisms to assess the condition and value of a print. An entire industry-specific dictionary was put in place in order to mitigate the risks of investment. One can find a rich jargon of terms such as ‘deacidification’, ‘oxidation shadow’ and ‘quinone stains’. Every wear and tear mark has a name. Every name reflects practices of mishandling. Every name represents a tangible asset liability. For comics collectors, whatever is outside a heavy duty 4-mil acid-free Mylar sleeve loses its collector value. Echo Chamber addresses deterioration not as a logistical problem, but as an opportunity. The current paper follows the organisation’s Radical Conservation portfolio that targets wealthy collectors and offers a variety of derivatives for those that are willing to entrust them their valuable possessions. Our underlying idea is that decay, an inevitable fate for paper products, can be programmed, even artificially accelerated in order to reflect the collector’s idiosyncrasy and ultimately contribute in raising the price of the item. Some of our commissions include cases of expedited disintegration where Bone’s first issue from a Dutch client was buried along long-term Organic Carbon sequestration in tidal marsh sediments along Scheldt’s estuarine salinity gradients in Belgium, or a highly entropic environment where a mint copy of Tales of Suspense #39 laid in monitored exposure to microbial deteriogens and macrofauna such as tubeworms and bivalves in the company’s Pacific Lab.