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A number of villains have used the name Clayface and have all been published by DC Comics.

The first Clayface first appeared in Detective Comics #40. The villain first known as Clayface was a well-known movie actor named Basil Karlo. Karlo mostly starred in horror pictures and was famous the world over. When one of his movies was remade starring a younger actor, Karlo became enraged. Dressing as one of the characters he had played in the movie Clayface, Karlo went on a rampage killing two of the actors from the new movie. Only through the timely intervention of Batman and his teen partner Robin was Clayface stopped and captured. Karlo was sent to Arkham Asylum but has escaped a number of times.

The second Clayface was an adventurer known as Matt Hagen. He first appeared in Detective Comics #298. Hagen discovered an underground grotto while searching for sunken treasure. Within the grotto was a pool of liquid that when Hagen submerged himself in it, transformed his body into a claylike substance. Hagen soon learned that he could reshape himself and he saw a way to use his new found ability to disguise himself and commit a series of robberies. Hagen like Karlo before him called himself Clayface. Hagen too had a number of run ins with Batman, and was sent to prison. During the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Hagen was killed.

The third Clayface first appeared in Detective Comics #478. Preston Payne had a pituitary condition known as acromegaly. The condition caused Payne's extremities to become enlarged. Visiting Hagen in prison prior to his death, Payne got a blood sample from him that he used to create a formula that when injected in his blood allowed him to change shape. Changing his form to that of a handsome man, Payne was enjoying the attention of a beautiful woman, when he began to lose his control over his form. Payne's features and form began to run like hot wax and his date became alarmed and screamed. When Payne grabbed her, his touch turned the poor woman into a protoplasmic slime. Payne ended up wearing an exoskeleton that gave him super strength and helped him to hold his form together. Payne also lost his mind due to his situation. He attacked a number of people until he was stopped by Batman

The fourth Clayface was Sondra Fuller. The only female Clayface first appeared in The Outsiders #22. Fuller was the victim of an experiment by the villain Kobra which gave her powers similar to the second Clayface Matt Hagen but with improvements. Fuller could not only adopt the form of another, if the person had special powers, she also assumes those as well. Hence when she assumed the form of Outsider Looker, she gained the heroine's telepathy powers. Sondra Fuller and Preston Payton were involved in a brief romance that produced a son they have named Cassius. What powers the child has remains to be seen.

Three of the villains named Clayface have teamed up at one point calling themselves the Mudpack. Lead by the original Clayface Basil Karlo, the team was comprised of Karlo, Clayface III (Preston Payne), and Clayface IV (Sondra Fuller). The Mudpack attempted to rid themselves of their foe, Batman and nearly succeeded except for the timely help of Batman's former teammate in the Outsiders, Looker. Karlo later turned on the other members of the Mudpack and used them to give himself powers that combined their abilities. The amount of power that Karlo gave himself was more than his form could stand and eventually destroyed him.

Clayface appears in Batman: The Animated Series, as Matt Hagen, an actor who is transfomed by the use of an experimental and dangerous makeup that allows the user to rework their face at will (sort of a face lift in a jar). The cartoon character mixed elements of the the first two Clayfaces.


My thanks to Servo5678 for keeping me straight on the animated series.

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