It’s a sad day for the world of comics as we’ve lost one of our true originals, Jack Davis.  His comics graced the pages of E.C. publication like Tales from the Crypt and, most famously, MAD Magazine, of which he was a founding contributor and which he worked on for decades, as well as countless movie posts, album covers, book & magazine covers, trading cards, advertisements, editorial artwork and character design for films such as Mad Monster Party.  He was a vibrant, brilliant artist and he will be missed.

Daily Monster 105: Mari Lwyd

Region of origin: Wales

A local wassailing tradition in southern Wales, the Mari Lwyd (represented by a hobby horse made from a horse’s skull or crafted simulacrum) is led in a procession of revelers around a town at dusk during Christmastime festivities, knocking on doors and engaging the residents in a musical debate to be allowed inside and cause a ruckus. The exact etymology of the tradition is unclear but the Christmas connection may have developed as a combination of “mari” being homophonous with the Virgin Mary, and “Mari Lwyd” literally translating as “grey mare.”

Edit to add: Found this video on the Mari Lwyd tradition as it’s performed today.

Daily Monster 106: The Badalisc

Region of origin: Val Camonica, Italy

As part of local Epiphany celebrations, communities in the Val Camonica region of Italy will capture the beastly Badalisc (represented by a man in costume) and parade it through town. In the town square, he, or often a proxy, will deliver a speech or poem about bad deeds committed by the people of the town (as a way of encouraging better behavior through the year, lest the Badalisc shames you in his proclamation) followed by a party where the creature is a guest of honor, before he is released back into the wild the next day.