Herman Edward Hartnell
Herman Hartnell
Alias Zero
Gender Male
Born January 1, 1934
Died June 3, 2011 (Age 77) (Stabbed by Shawn Mallory)
Son Alex (aka The Firstborn)
Daughter Genevieve Collins (as a Mentor)
Herman Hartnell, aka Zero, was the main antagonist in Volume 4.

Early Life:

Herman was born into a poor family during the Great Depression. Despite a high IQ, he was forced to work manual jobs for most of his life, which led to a deep resentment and anger. Herman became obsessed with cryptography and the afterlife, desiring a host of vassals to serve him through eternity. For several years, Herman lived with Genevieve Collins, whom he treated as a daughter.


He retired from killing for three decades due to a heart condition, but went on one last spree in 2011. Herman was killed by Shawn Mallory.


Hartnell was obsessed with the idea that puzzles must be solved, and cannot be solved using cheats. He followed his psychopathic belief to the point where he murders a doctors assistant due to a prior disagreement with his views.


  • The character Herman Hartnell is based on real-life serial killer "The Zodiac Killer", who terrified the Northern California area during the 1960s-1970s. The killer sent several cryptic letters and clues to media and police departments of his crimes, even calling police departments from payphones almost two blocks away. In one of his letters, he described his kills as a "collecting of slaves for his afterlife". Despite several efforts and clues, the killer still remains unidentified today.
  • Herman Hartnell was named after one of the Zodiac Killer's surviving victims, Bryan Hartnell.