There have been three major Clayfaces so far. The first, Basil Karlo, appeared in Detective Comics# 40 in the June of 1940. Karlo was not a malleable menace ( at least not yet). He was an actor who starred in a horror film called "The Terror" in which the films villain was named Clayface. One day, the movie was being remade without him as the star, so he went insane, dressed up as the villain, and started murdering people on set. He was later stopped by Batman and Robin.
After being incarcerated, he imbues himself with the horrifying abilities of the famous clay monster. He is perhaps the most deadliest at this point, because his superior acting skill mixed with the shape shifting powers gave him the ability to perfectly imitate anyone. The second Clayface, Matt Hagen, was the first Clayface to have the clay like body. However, he had to keep returning to a radioactive pool of protoplasm to maintain his powers. He was later killed by a shadow demon during Crisis on Infinite Earths. The third Clayface, Preston Payne, was born with hyperpituitarism, a severe aesthetic deficiency.
He worked at Star Labs, and was searching for a cure. He obtained then living Matt Hagen's blood and is temporarily able to shapeshift, and this ability disappears when he melts a woman he was dating into protoplasm. Payne, now horribly disfigured, builds an exoskeleton to prevent him from touching anyone. He is stopped by Batman and falls in love with a mannequin while incarcerated in Arkham Asylum. The third Clayface was a female named Sondra Fuller who had Matt Hagen's abilities and called herself "Lady Clay". She later fell in love with Preston Payne and they had a child, Cassius Claypayne. Basil Karlo also formed a team with Fuller and Payne called "The Mud Pack."
- Shapeshifting: Clayface can shapeshift, have the same color, and have the same voice of anyone or anything. He oftens tricks his enemies into thinking he's someone else.
- Self Weapon: Clayface can also shapeshift his hands into any weapon. He's been able to shape them into hammers, sharp stakes, and several other melee weapons.
- Nearly Immortal: Clayface is practically immortal due to the fact you can't harm clay. Batman was only able to defeat him him mentally or electricute him, as electricity is one of two of his only weaknesses. He is also vulnerable to ice and other freezing like objects.