Young girl among comic superheroes
Stamp and coin collecting is commonplace, but the Ishmuratov family home, in Minsk, is a great deal more unusual
Alina Ishmuratova with her collection
“For me, superheroes do exist,” underlines Alina, dressed from head to toe in clothes bearing images of Spider-Man. “I often muse on what I’d do if I met Peter Parker or Thor.”
As soon as we enter, all the colours of the world converge; vivid posters of superheroes cover the walls, and figurines are on display upon every shelf. Spider-Man looks up from the carpet and comics are stacked on the table. To count them all would be impossible.
“Superheroes are everything to me. I can’t imagine my life without my favourite comics and heroes,” admits Alina, showing us various items. Even dusting is a pleasure, as she takes delight in handling each item. “When my Dad gave me the Spider-Man rug, I promised that I’d vacuum it twice a week,” she laughs.
“Spider-Man was the first superhero I saw, aged 5, when the films first came out, and he became my favourite. I remember that I couldn’t tear myself away from the screen. I told my mother that I’d marry him,” says Alina. Her collection includes postcards, bags, socks, pencil cases, pens, mugs, water bottles, mosaics and, even, colouring books. In the kitchen, Alina has her own dishes, which nobody is allowed to touch, featuring superheroes. In the bathroom, her gels and shampoos depict her favourite characters, and her wardrobe brims with superhero-emblazoned merchandise. She knows that she draws attention but is adamant that she wears the items for her own pleasure, above all. Even at school, wearing her uniform, she’d add special earrings or badges with superheroes.
Her mother, Gulnora Arifovna, often makes unique outfits for Alina, sewing superhero designs onto skirts and dresses. She has summer shoes decorated with Spider-Man too. The dog has his own outfit too. Gulnora knows the names of the superheroes as well as her daughter and likes to watch the films with her children.
“Comic book characters are in fashion today,” underlines Alina. “Most comics cost around 200,000-300 000 Roubles, despite having only 20-30 pages. My most expensive toy is this Obi-Wan Kenobi Star Wars figure, which cost one million Roubles.” Handmade, by several individuals, it has a market value of about $1,000.
“Once I’m earning my own money, I’ll buy more for my collection.” Alina adds. “I want a figure of the Incredible Hulk.”
Her dream is to open a comic book store and to buy an apartment where one room can become a superhero museum. This year, she enters the Belarusian State University to study museology at the Historical Department. “I want to become a tour guide,” she explains. “My friends say that I’m a good storyteller. I’ll start by telling people about our country and, later, will do the same for my own museum.”
By Alina Kasel