JEDDAH: Saudi vintage shops are evoking childhood memories and nostalgia by selling things from the past and showing younger generations how entertainment used to look.
Huda, the 26-year-old owner of an Instagram shop called Comics4Huda, sells Arabic-language vintage comics from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
She got the idea to sell the comics because she was attached to the “Mickey Mouse” comics as a child and wanted to make others feel what she felt as a kid. “I like selling these particular comics for a simple reason, that our bookstores don’t provide them anymore,” she told Arab News.
She said that acquiring these comics consumed a lot of time and energy. “However, the joy when it is complete and how happy a customer gets upon getting a collection is priceless and helps me continue. I have had some customers come up to me and say that the collection is so special that they have been moved to tears.”
The collections offered are rare and are no longer in print.
Omar Owdh, a clinical psychology student, said comics were a huge part of his life. “They are an escape from the mundane in life and, when things start getting really difficult, the art would help me get lost in them more than I would feel with books,” he told Arab News.
He said he specifically fell in love with comic books from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s because he used to find them when traveling with his family around the world.
Owdh was also introduced to these comic books through his older siblings, who bought them when they were young, and then the enthusiast was fortunate enough to inherit a sizable collection.
Another online shop on Instagram, called Vin Saudi, sells items and artifacts that date further back in time, sometimes even centuries. Vin Saudi belongs to 26-year-old Khalid Ahmad, who had the idea to sell these objects after realizing he had a collection of random things that could bring the same amount of joy to others as they did to him.
He has books dating back to the 1910s, coins used in the Roman Empire, and tickets purchased in the 1980s.
Ahmad said that he started collecting these things when he used to go with his father to Souq Al-Zel, a local market in Riyadh that had an abundance of vintage stores set up by collectors. “Every time I went there, I had to buy something,” he said.
He thought he might find it challenging to say goodbye to his pieces, but it became easy when he saw customers’ excitement and anticipation.
Owdh added: “I was very happy when I saw that there were shops on Instagram. It is almost like they are keeping these books alive. I hope that this gives publishing houses the incentive to republish some of the older comics and even publish them online to help preserve them for longer.”
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