Nightmare Alley

Adapted by Spain Rodriguez

In the hands of underground-comic pioneer Spain Rodriguez, the 1946 William Lindsay Gresham novel (later a 1947 movie) gets the cartoon treatment its subjects--hustling and degradation in a 1930s carnival--beg for. Magician Stanton Carlisle hatches a plan to pose as a spiritualist to con rich marks, in the process revealing the family history that destroyed his faith in God and man. Nightmare Alley (Fantagraphics; 129 pages) is an existential novel wrapped in a noir chiller, and Rodriguez's lurid drawings strike just the right balance of sheen and sleaze. Step right up. --J.P.


Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!