Lala Albert has already received a heap of praise here at The Beat; her bizarre and captivating comics and illustration often feature creatures that straddle the line between being elegant and stirringly frightening. Oftentimes when perusing her artwork, I’m fascinated with the visually articulated figures in her work and the manifold nuances of their inspiration, from everything from high fashion and ancient mythology to manga and science fiction. In her newest release, PARANOID APARTMENT by Secret Prison, Albert strays from the fantastical yet at the same time evokes her trademark mood of the eerie and supernatural, exploring the physical and subconscious haunting of a modern girl’s apartment.
Do ghosts exist or is it all just in our heads? Do we become our own phantoms or does it lay latent in our innermost conscious? An exploration of the mysticism lurking in our everyday lives is at question in PARANOID APARTMENT, a comic set in Albert’s illustrious style. The alien-esque protagonist of the story finds herself caught between reality and the specter that haunts her home, as she finds herself caught in a surreal nightmare of recurring moments of violence and illusions. Taking the haunting into her own hands with a little aid from the all-too-familiar anonymity of Craigslist roomshares, victim metamorphosizes into perpetrator as a new subject enters to test the boundaries of phantasm and the human psyche.
Published by Philadelphia’s Secret Prison, PARANOID APARTMENT is printed in 2-color risograph, boasting an alluring spectrum of yellow, white, and gray to capture the true chaos Albert is so adept at illustrating. Layered with various textures and tones reminiscent of print manga, Albert’s narrative exudes a complexity that plays on the idea of the existence of ghosts both within and outside of us. She creates a story that explores the space of the home as not just a physical space but also as a means of multiple planes of existence, leaving open a musing that, in fact, we can become phantoms for ourselves as well as those around us.
Set for release this weekend at TCAF, PARANOID APARTMENT is a great addition to the already spectacular repertoire of Albert’s work. Pick up a copy this weekend in person or head on to the Sacred Prism store to order one!