An adaptation of the long out-of-print 1930s cult novel of the same name by William Lindsay Gresham, illustrated by legendary underground cartoonist Spain Rodriguez. The story is a study of the lowest depths of showbiz and its sleazy inhabitants and environs, the dark, shadowy world of a second rate carnival filled with cheap hustlers, scheming grifters, and Machiavellian femmes fatales. Gresham was born in Baltimore in 1909, but grew up in New York. Nightmare Alley was highly influenced by the freaks and sideshows he routinely observed at Coney Island as a child. The dark side of carnival life is the world of Nightmare Alley, deeply rooted in early film noir and the hard-boiled books of Dashiell Hammett and James M. Cain. Rodriguez's illustrations compliment Gresham's dark, brooding, cynical and complex world perfectly — the rich imagery of Gresham's prose is perfectly realized by Rodriguez's brush. The book depicts the rise of Stan Carlisle from a carnival mentalist to a successful "spiritualist," preying on the rich and gullible matrons of society, to his eventual fall and total disintegration.
"Part of a comix generation that made its reputation breaking taboos, Spain's instinct for sensationalism... also perfectly match the pulp, exploitation origins of Nightmare Alley." – Time Magazine online
"The alley of Stanton Carlisle's nightmare might be his own arid soul, but it's revealed through the pitiless precision of Rodriguez's art." – Publishers Weekly
"This lurid yarn still grabs and holds." – Booklist
"A product of Buffalo, NY in the 1950s...Rodriguez is the real deal, utterly devoted to political and cultural revolution, and taking numerous licks from the billy clubs of officers to prove it." – The Hartford Advocate
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