It looks like one of the scariest criminal cases in American history has finally got answers. A group called Case Breakers have reportedly identified the mysterious Zodiac Killer as Gary Francis Poste. The notorious criminal has remained at the center of countless investigations and documentaries. Its influence even then spread to pop culture like movies and comics. However, some wonder if the comics inspired the Zodiac Killer.

The Letters of the Zodiac Killer | Bettmann Archives / Getty Images

Zodiac Killer numbers and clues in a western comic book

People often think of him as a real-life supervillain with a name like “The Zodiac Killer”.

He sent encrypted messages to the police, some of which were never deciphered by law enforcement. As the theories about the Zodiac Killer’s true identity spread, no one ever definitively found out.

The riddle has led private and public investigators to scour every bit of information in search of clues. Among them was author Robert Graysmith, who turned to comics.

In his book, ZODIAC UNMASKED, Graysmith makes a connection between the zodiac symbol and a cattle brand symbol used by Fred Harman, breeder and cartoonist.

A western comic called Red ryder captured Harman’s western experiences. In another western comic, Tim holt, number 30 depicts the hero captured and placed under a device called “The Wheel of Death”.

The most important connection was that the wheel also resembled Harman’s cattle mark and contained the infamous words used in the Zodiac Slayer’s Halloween card: By Knife, By Pistol, By Fire, and By Rope.

The Tim holt comic strip released in 1952, nearly a decade before Zodiac Killer was active.

Again, these clues have remained speculation, trying anything and everything to aid in the search for the criminal. However, Zodiac Killer’s relationship with the comics didn’t end with the westerns.

The Zodiac Killer mystery has stuck in people’s minds. Like Captain America fighting in World War II, artists went on to portray the Zodiac Killer in comics, movies, and novels.

A few years after the criminal shut himself up, Skywald Publications launched its Hell-Cavalier comic. The titular hero and The Butterfly were dealing with issues relevant to the time, and Skywald planned to deal directly with the Zodiac Killer.

Skywald publications 'Psycho' # 5 Advertisement for 'Hell-Rider' # 3

Advertisement for ‘Hell-Rider’ # 3 | Public domain

Their other titles, like psychopath, announced a third issue where the titular hero would fight a group called “The Zodiac Killers”. However, Hell-Cavalier # 3 never went on sale.

Shadowline, a brand of Image Comics, has published a two-issue series titled The Robert, who imagines the Zodiac Killer and another notorious criminal, the Boston Strangler, exchanging “war stories” in their old age.

The unsettling mystery surrounding the crimes has fueled countless speculations and stories.

Is the mystery of the Zodiac finally solved?

The Case Breakers team wants officials to take their findings seriously.

Their evidence “includes photos found in his darkroom, a pattern of scars or wrinkles on his forehead that match a police sketch of the zodiac, and forensic evidence including DNA,” the Independent.

However, this is far from the first time people thought they had found the identity of the Zodiac Killer.

The case began over 50 years ago. It remains to be seen whether the Zodiac Killer found inspiration in comics, astrology, or simply portrayed a twisted dark side of humans.

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