The Cleaners: Absent Bodies by Mark Wheaton, Joshua Hale Fialkov, and Rahsan Ekedal

The Cleaners was written by Mark Wheaton and Joshua Hale Fialkov with art by Rahsan Ekedal, colors by Joh Graef, and Letters by Michael David Thomas, published by Dark Horse Books in January 2010. The Cleaners is about a for hire team who clean up after bloody and traumatic crime scenes. The leader, an ex-surgeon by the name Robert Bellarmine, guides the team to a link of gruesome crime scene around the Los Angeles area. While cleaning, they find clues around that lead them on a major case about kidnapping people, mostly children, that connects them back to centuries old crimes in that area. While investigating, they try to explain anything they find with scientific evidence, but their case may not be able to explained scientifically at all. They are sent on a supernatural chase to try to disprove historical superstition and uncover this gruesome and disturbing mystery.


This comic would best be described as a modernĀ horror story with elements of fantasy. When it comes to the art, one of the authors said that the look they wanted for the graphic novel was “to reflect the very solitary and isolated emotions that run through the story while also portraying a startling snapshot of what each character is experiencing personally.” You get the sense of the main character’s emotional instability and loneliness solely from the front cover by its use of a white background and the value of the shadows. The art in the graphic novel also brings the gruesome quality to a different level than the rest of the story by it’s detail, showing each drop of blood splattered across a wall. And going back to the value use, this novel is mostly dark values to convey the darkness and mystery behind the investigation in this story. cleaners

Overall, I really liked how this story brought three different genres, horror, detective, and fantasy, into one great story. The several twists throughout the graphic novel kept the reader on the edge of their seat, while the art helped the reader visualize the traumatic nature of the story.

Progress of a Sketch

I am one of the slowest artists you’ll meet and I blame my perfectionist nature. Nothing is ever perfect. With that said, I’ve been working on a sketch of Deadpool based on this image I found:

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And I have been working on it for a while and unfortunately haven’t completed much. I started this sketch with the intention of practicing my inking, so I didn’t take the normal route on it. The normal route being to sketch the entire image out in pencil and the ink on top. Since I was eager to practice inking, I decided to take a different approach and do large chunks at a time, starting with the head.

Dpool head

I really don’t recommend going about this way because its easy to find an error you can’t fix because it’s been inked in. Anyways, this was the first part I completed. And at first, I didn’t have much shadowing in. I had a hard time trying to incorporate the shadows with the ink and decided to do the darker shadow in ink and the lighter ones in pencil. When I added in the pencil shadows to the ink, I was much more happy with it. Next, I decided to do a rough (emphasis on rough) outline of the entire body and added an arm.

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The contrast of the pencil and the inked shadows came together a lot better on the arm. The fingers were inked in sooner than they should have, but I am happy with the overall image. The only other parts I’ve added are some penciling on the bicep and chest and some added detail to the outline.

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I made the outline make a lot more sense in this image by doing a lot of measuring around the chest and thigh. The only problem I have right now is finding time out of my day to finish this sketch. So far, I’m pretty happy with it. I’m getting myself back into the habit of comic book style drawing and shadowing, which I needed practice on since I’ve taken a break on my art lately. My next step will be to complete the chest, move to the other arm, then the gun, and finish with the legs and background detail. It might take me a while, but I think the end result will be worth it.