The connection of presence to the world, the erasure of self, is beautifully rendered in full acid blotter psychedelic glory by Connor Willumsen, but it’s all lost on Bradley of Him ... Bradley of Him feels like a new cult classic, an addition to the lexicon of modern outsider storytellers and haunted urban dreamers. It’s densely packed with exchanges, inventories, people ... In Willumsen’s Vegas, the slots and velvet ropes and scrubland vegetation, everything has a similar absence that goes with the amicably perplexing formatting. Familiar, delicate, and yet each face is a ghost missing some essential piece, spared a single line of photorealistic contour or floating up through a car window set into the desert floor ... The thoughtful composition of Willumsen’s visuals, a counterpoint to the sociopathic inner life of his subject, is what makes Bradley of Him so compelling. Willumsen has a deep understanding of each page as both parts and a whole.
So there's this pale, gawky, bald guy in mirror shades running through the desert. That's the central image of Connor Willumsen's graphic novel Bradley of Him, and it's also a kind of seed. From the image of a stubborn runner in an inhospitable landscape, Willumsen has built upa hilarious and philosophically challenging meditation on individuality, capitalism, celebrity, connection — and, under it all, absurdity. Willumsen seems to have shaped his story the way only an artist would, letting the visual lead the verbal. Lots of artists are skilled enough at thinking visually to let themes emerge this way, but it helps immeasurably that Willumsen happens to have such an elegant line and painstaking technique. The former is precise and soft at once, making the runner and his surroundings a consistent pleasure to dwell with. Willumsen delicately balances shades of gray and deploys dark and light space with perfect finesse ... Bradley of Him is a fun run.
Willumsen is an expert draftsman and designer, presenting pages that swirl with action and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny dialog as scenes segue into one another with an often dreamlike quality ... Willumsen pokes fun at the vapidity of celebrity culture and seems interested in satirizing a particularly American sense of entitlement, but ultimately he obscures whatever point he has in mind in favor of remaining willfully, and fascinatingly, perplexing.