At what juncture the Zodiac first stumbled across his pseudonym is of little importance, however, it could be argued that when he found it, he would likely research the name 'Zodiac' and use elements of his research to incorporate into his future correspondence. If he had happened upon the Tim Holt 'Death Wheel' comic prior to November 8th 1969, then the light bulb may have switched on - and his design of a crackproof cipher began in earnest. And possibly, a 340 cipher designed in tandem with the Tim Holt comic and cipher three, which he mailed just over five months later on April 20th 1970. His opening line of "This is the Zodiac speaking. By the way have you cracked the last cipher I sent you. My name is....", he may have already known the answer to when he manufactured the illusion of a 340 character message.
One has to presume that all these fell here by accident (including the inference to Zodiac on the 20th line) - because to believe otherwise - would pour huge doubt on a Zodiac Killer who was able to simultaneously create a uniform message within the 340 cipher in conjunction with a 'bag of puzzles'. However, the Tim Holt 'Death Wheel' comic is not only interesting because it contains By Fire, By Gun, By Rope and By Knife found in the 'Halloween' card, or because of "Redmask" or "Lady Doom," but because of the origin of the 'Death Wheel' or 'Wheel of Fortune' itself. Had the Zodiac Killer read anything about the pseudonym 'Zodiac' when he first appropriated it, then he may have known the relevance of the 'Wheel of Fortune' or 'Rota Fortunae,'. thereby triggering the inspiration for the 340 cipher, and the eventual 'Halloween' card explanation or solution to his devilish trick and treat.
The 'Wheel of Fortune' or 'Rota Fortunae' has a long and rich history, crossing many cultures and eras. Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia: "In medieval and ancient philosophy the Wheel of Fortune, or Rota Fortunae, is a symbol of the capricious nature of Fate. The wheel belongs to the goddess Fortuna (Greek equivalent Tyche) who spins it at random, changing the positions of those on the wheel: some suffer great misfortune, others gain windfalls. Fortune appears on all paintings as a woman, sometimes blindfolded, "puppeteering" a wheel". The great windfall may be the promise of paradise, but the downside is the servile nature expected by the one who summoned you. But here is the interesting part - again taken from Wikipedia.
"The origin of the word is from the "wheel of fortune" - the zodiac, referring to the Celestial spheres of which the 8th holds the stars, and the 9th is where the signs of the zodiac are placed. The concept was first invented in Babylon and later developed by the ancient Greeks. The concept somewhat resembles the Bhavacakra, or Wheel of Becoming, depicted throughout Ancient Indian art and literature, except that the earliest conceptions in the Roman and Greek world involve not a two-dimensional wheel but a three-dimensional sphere, a metaphor for the world. It was widely used in the Ptolemaic perception of the universe as the zodiac being a wheel with its "signs" constantly turning throughout the year and having effect on the world's fate (or fortune)". link.
The zodiac is an area of the sky that extends approximately 8° north or south (as measured in celestial latitude) of the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun across the celestial sphere over the course of the year. The paths of the Moon and visible planets are also within the belt of the zodiac. The Zodiac is divided into 12 signs beginning with Aries and Taurus. The Zodiac wheels have multiple cultural adaptations, shown here in a Wordpress blog: "These zodiac/time wheels are not common in Eastern Orthodox iconography, but they are found in one variation or another occasionally — usually, as here — in the form of wall paintings in churches. When seeing such a “Wheel of Time” — also called a Wheel of Life — one cannot help thinking of those Tibetan images that also represent a wheel of life as the “Wheel of Becoming” — in this case a wheel of rebirth:"
Here is one final extract from the book 'Deep Value': "Plutarch says that Servius knew "fortune is of great moment, or rather, she is everything in human affairs" because it was through good fortune that he had ascended from slave to king. In Roman mythology Fortuna was the goddess of fate, and the personification of chance. She turned the Rota Fortunae- the Wheel of Fortune- which dictated the destiny of man". Therefore, did Zodiac dictate the destiny of his victims - By Fire, By Gun, By Rope and By Knife - and the very reason the 'Wheel of Death' portrayed on the Tim Holt comic was so very appealing.
If the Zodiac Killer had done his research and discovered the 'Wheel of Fortune' or 'Rota Fortunae', and its connection to the word 'Zodiac', then the Tim Holt comic may have been a gift from heaven - an offering he just couldn't resist.
Five weeks after the November 8th 1969 340 cipher, the December 16th 1969 'Fairfield' letter may have shown the early machinations of the Zodiac design, appearing in rudimentary code - the full explanation of which would have to wait until October 27th 1970.. The interconnectivity between the 'Halloween' card, Tim Holt 'Death Wheel' comic, the pseudonym 'Zodiac' and the 340 cipher is an intriguing and perplexing blend of mystery. One that came together by deliberate intent, or came together from the mind of somebody wishing it were true.