First there was the novel, Nightmare Alley, now available in a new printing from the NYRB. Then the film, with Helen Walker playing Lilith Ritter, the female psychiatrist with ice water in her veins. She sucks the life out of Stanton Carlisle, played by Tyrone Power, and throws away his deflated husk of a body. He descends back into the muck from which he came and finishes as a geek, biting the heads off chickens for a living. It’s a faithful adaptation of the book.
Then there was Lilith, the uptight dominatrix of the TV sitcom Cheers, played by Bebe Neuwirth. She has to be channelling Helen Walker!
After that, came the comic book adaptation of Nightmare Alley by Spain Rodriguez, published by Fantagraphics.
Lilith has Bebe’s dark hair…
… and is up-front about her needs… The toe nail painting is a nice noir reference to Scarlett Street, by Fritz Lang.