Fans of Edgar Allan Poe (and especially The Cask of Amontillado) know that Montresor’s family crest is an eerie bit of foreshadowing in the gothic master’s classic short story of murder and revenge.
“I forget your arms.”
“A huge human foot d’or, in a field azure; the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel.”
“And the motto?”
“Nemo me impune lacessit.”
Loose translation: No one attacks me with impunity.
When Jason Strutz and I first discussed adapting Cask into a comic, one of the most important visual elements to establish was the Montresor family coat of arms. All the details are provided by Poe in the story, but Jason still managed to make the seal “ours.”
Later, when tackling the concept work for our new graphic novel, The House of Montresor, a sequel to Cask, I asked Jason to put together a more “modernized” version of the Montresor family crest. Something to really put our stamp on Poe’s work while also paying it the proper respect, and to help orient in time fans of the original story, as The House of Montresor is set fifty years after the events of Poe’s original tale. He came up with this:
Loose translation: Montresor sank his fangs into the Fortunato family once; now he’s about to swallow them whole!
This new crest preserves all the original elements from Poe while alluding to Montresor’s rise in fortune over the years–the snake is now almost anaconda-like and completely encircles the foot.
Forward, Merch! Excited to share that we will soon have pendants, pins and other goodies featuring the crests: sale of these items will coincide with the release of Part I of the book this Fall! Perfect gifts for the vengeful at heart, and every Poe lover in your life. Keep your eyes here…
P.S. Research sometimes yields fun facts. Here’s a short history of the Montresor family motto, IRL.
THE HOUSE OF MONTRESOR, a sequel to Edgar Allan Poe’s Cask of Amontillado. Fifty years have passed since the villainous Montresor murdered his friend, Fortunato. But revenge does not end: Montresor still has a few more surprises in store for Edana, heir to a great estate and the last remaining member of the Fortunato family. Written by Enrica Jang, with art by Jason Strutz. Coming soon from Red Stylo Media!