I wanted to write about something that recently happened. It doesn’t involve music or travelling, but another type of inspiration to me. Recently a business owner, friend, and neighbor passed away. I won’t go into details as to how it happened because I don’t know all the details. I also don’t think it is right to talk about it here. The person I am talking about is Nicholas Yukto, and he owned and operated Dreamscape Comics in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Nick was a quiet and humble guy. His knowledge of comics was vast and astounding. Once you walked into Dreamscape, you might think this place is extremely cluttered, but Nick knew where everything was. He also had his regulars that he treated them like family and knew exactly what they liked. He was a great business owner and celebrity in his own right.
I still remember the first day I stepped foot into Dreamscape. I just moved to Bethlehem on Second Avenue, and for whatever reason my parents decided to walk me to Dreamscape Comics. At this time, Dreamscape was located by Third Avenue which was a block away. I was roughly six years old and wasn’t allowed to cross the street yet. Let alone know my way around the area.
Once I walked inside I remember turning right and looking in a bin on the floor filled with trading cards. Right away my first purchase, or my parent’s, was a pack of The Rocketeer trading cards. I was a big fan, still am, but that was the start of my trading card collection thanks to Nick and Dreamscape.
As I got older, my Sister would walk me to Dreamscape and I started to go further back into the store. Like any kid, my tastes ranged from Teenage Mutant Turtles, Power Rangers, Nickelodeon, etc. I didn’t really get into the usual comic book superheroes. I know enough about the subject to get me by in conversations, but I never collected those comics. I was geared towards the horror stuff.
This was due to Mad magazine. I loved the humor, even if I didn’t get it, and it is an iconic publication. Nick took noticed to this, and told me that before Mad there was E.C. comics. E.C. comics published horror comic books such as Tales From The Crypt. Nick sold me a copy and from then on I was never the same. Horror became a big part of my life. It wasn’t about the gore or the killing, but the story telling and how people reacted to such madness in their life. Nick opened a door of wonder and obsession to me.
Years past and soon Dreamscape moved. They moved a half a block down, closer to my house. I would always visit every Wednesday after I got off the bus from school to look at the new comics. I never had the money to purchase anything, but Nick still made conversation with me. Eventually I would get older and have the money to start purchasing things. At this point, life was catching up to me and I had to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.
This is where Nick had the most influence on me. Unlike everyone else I knew in school, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. By high school I quit band and sports and decided to pick up a guitar. After a while I knew it wasn’t where my heart was. I knew I wanted to do something with music, but what. I stepped back and looked at what moved me? What made me feel like I would make a difference?
It hit me then, I wanted to do something with business. I just remember thinking of Nick and all the stores I frequented and how in a way, these people were celebrities. They weren’t making millions, but they were happy. They were doing something they loved and they were making people happy. In their own right, they were celebrities to the city they worked in.
I wanted this. I wanted to own a business. Like how I live, I wanted to have control over my well-being and life. I looked up to Nick and all these small businesses. These are the people making a difference in the community. They are on the front lines sort of speak. They are risking their lives, health, and money to make a living. I always root for the under dogs, and these owners really were. I didn’t go into Dreamscape and other small stores for the products. I went for the service, the uniqueness, the atmosphere, and to support these people’s lives.
Eventually Dreamscape would move again. This time it was only 3 store fronts down and even closer to my house. They were practically in my backyard. This time though, Nick asked me to help him move along with the girl I was dating at the time. He paid us through store credit, and it was awesome. I bought so much after that. My senior year in high school I moved out of Bethlehem and then would go to college. I never forgot about Dreamscape though.
I would come home from college and still visit Nick. I would purchase anything horror related to tend to my addiction. Nick always had obscured and underground products, especially in horror. He always held things for me even if I didn’t ask and would suggest me things. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have known about anything in this interesting universe of comics.
Nick, Dreamscape Comics, and Bethlehem made me who I am today. I am the type of person that doesn’t forget where I come from. Everything about where I grew up had a big part in my life, but Nick and Dreamscape made my childhood and my imagination.
Now, I sit here writing what his business and life did for me. I know there is a lot more I want to say, but this should be enough for now. I still want to own my own business and be a celebrity in the town I live in, but I don’t know when. Life isn’t about the end result, it is about the process. I will get that business going, even if it is just a record label on the side while I work my 40 hour week job. When I do though, I will make sure to incorporate Nick’s spirit into it. Bethlehem lost a great businessman, but his legacy and story will be known. How does Dreamscape Records sound Nick?