Photo: of an art installation called SPECUATOR BOOM, 2019
Olympic Village


By Sonny Assu

As a kid, comic books were a form of entertainment and escape. The ideal of future monetary value in these objects was far from my kid mind. I’d crease the pages, handle the covers with Hawkins Cheezie encrusted fingers and had a carefree attitude towards dollops of fallen Miracle Whip from my bologna sandwiches. These books fuelled my imagination and spurred on my early creative pursuits. As I grew older, I started to learn about the secondary market and specific issues of comics or “first appearances” that could easily fetch thousands of dollars. It was then that the importance of collecting started to take hold during the era known as the Speculator Boom. During this time, the comic book industry flooded the market, the short-lived boom, ended up becoming a long-lived bust.

As a painting and collage series, the Speculator Boom sees a return to the exploration of pop-culture through comic books as a way to not only express my identity as a purveyor of pop, a watcher of sci-fi, and a collector of nerdy things, but as a way to find a cathartic experience in the breaking of my childhood memorabilia. Through this, I’m finding a new understanding of the attribution wealth by the deconstruction of something sacred to create something new.

—Sonny Assu, 2019


Curated by Kim Spencer-Nairn