When actors—typically white male actors—are gunning for an Oscar, they go method. It’s about letting go of yourself and allowing the character to take over your mind and body, resulting in significant physical changes and heightened performances. In his new Koyama Press graphic novel, Bradley Of Him, Connor Willumsen explores the psychological toll of abandoning your identity to take on a new persona, following an actor heavily inspired by actor Bradley Cooper as he gets into the character of Lance Armstrong. From that seed grows a very strange surreal character study that plays with time and space in unpredictable ways, with Willumsen drastically changing layouts to alter the rhythm of a page. It gives the book a hallucinatory vibe that adds ambiguity to the narrative to further blur the lines between actor and character.
This exclusive preview of next week’s Bradley Of Him introduces readers to the protagonist by showing him stretching in different positions as he practices his awards speech, the flexibility of his body reflecting the malleability of his identity. These poses are layered on top of an image of a car being presented on a pedestal, doing away with spatial restrictions to give readers a look at the casino’s centerpiece underneath this extended stretching sequence. Willumsen takes advantage of the book’s larger dimensions to pack each page with information, and his pencils are full of detail without sacrificing a sense of motion. Drawing the book in pencil adds delicacy and lightness to the visuals, and these pages highlight how he uses shading to adjust the mood of each page, shifting between tranquility and tumult as the lead character makes his way through Las Vegas.