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 modern 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.
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.