The following individuals have used the name "Clayface".
Basil Karlo Edit
The original Clayface and the most enduring, Basil Karlo was once an actor who was driven insane after hearing that a remake of the classic horror film he had starred in, The Terror, would be shot without him acting in the film, even though he is to be one of the advising staff. Donning the costume of the film's villain he once played, Clayface, he begins killing the actors playing characters he killed in the order and way they die in the film, along with someone who knew his identity. Last, he plans to murder the actor playing the Clayface killer, but he is foiled by Batman and Robin.
When he first turned to crime, Karlo did not have any shapeshifting abilities, but he would gain these powers after joining forces with the Clayfaces who succeeded him. Calling themselves the Mud Pack, the group set out to discredit and destroy Batman, though this revenge scheme was merely a ploy devised by Karlo in order to acquire the cells of Clayface III and Lady Clay, all so he could transform himself into a superhuman monster like them. This plan succeeded and Karlo became the Ultimate Clayface, gaining shapeshifting powers and the ability to absorb people into his own mass.
Since gaining his powers, Karlo has been the only Clayface active in Gotham City as his successors have since left town or died. He remains a deadly threat to the Dark Knight, although his crimes have remained small-time for a man of his power. His most significant activities involved joining with other villains as a member of evil groups such as the Injustice League and the Secret Society.
Matt Hagen Edit
Matt Hagen was originally a thief and treasure hunter who had discovered a mysterious pool of protoplasmic ooze hidden within a cave. Upon contact with the substance, Hagen discovered that the ooze had a bizarre effect on his body: it made his form malleable like clay, allowing him to mold himself into different shapes. Seeing the potential that the substance offered, Hagen immersed himself in the fluid, transforming his entire body. He took on the name Clayface and decided to use this newfound power to steal valuable items from all over Gotham City.
While Hagen was able to alter his appearance in order to hide himself from authorities or impersonate wealthy individuals, the effects of the protoplasmic jelly were only temporary and his human biology would reassert itself in time. Though his crime sprees were always stopped by Batman, he managed to keep the location of the pool secret for a long time until after one fateful caper attracted the attention of Superman. Superman destroyed the clay pool with his heat vision, preventing Hagen from ever becoming Clayface again.
Some time after his final caper, Hagen was killed by the Anti-Monitor during the Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Preston Payne Edit
Preston Payne, who would become the third Clayface, was a gifted scientist who worked with the Gotham branch of S.T.A.R. Labs. He suffered from chronic hyperpituitarism, a condition that hideously distorted his body. He had sought treatment from the finest cosmetic surgeons in the world, but none of them could help him. Finally, his pursuit of a treatment led him to discover Matt Hagen, a criminal who went by the alias of Clayface. Hagen possessed a metahuman ability to alter his form at will and so Payne visited Hagen in prison, eager to learn his secret.
Payne discretely obtained a sample of Matt Hagen's blood and experimented on it back at his laboratory. With the blood sample, he developed a serum that he believed would allow him to remold his disfigured face. The serum worked, but only temporarily; while Payne was out on a date, his face began to melt. His date was horrified and tried to flee, but Payne grabbed hold of the woman and was shocked to see her flesh corrode to his touch and she liquefied before his eyes. Payne panicked and fled back to his lab, setting to work on trying to reverse his mutation. His efforts to do so were futile, but he was able to design and build a special exoskeleton to contain his molten form, protecting others from his lethal touch. However, Payne's condition continued to deteriorate and he found that he would need to discharge his corrosive fluids periodically or he would fall into a severe fever and eventually die.
Taking on Matt Hagen's former moniker of Clayface, Payne embarked on a life of murder in order to keep himself alive. He preyed upon the homeless, people whom no-one would miss, not wanting to destroy any lives. He also stole technology from S.T.A.R. Labs in the hopes of curing himself, but his activities attracted the attention of Batman, leading to his incarceration in Arkham Asylum.
Payne would eventually be freed from Arkham by Basil Karlo as part of his plan to unite the Clayface successors as the Mud Pack. Karlo realised his goal of becoming the Ultimate Clayface by taking cell samples from both Payne and Sondra Fuller, then abandoning them after he had no further use for them. Following a confrontation with Batman, Payne and Fuller escaped together and even fell in love with each other. The pair decided to leave Gotham forever and make a new life for themselves, but years later Payne was coerced by the villain Prometheus into aiding him with a plan to destroy the Justice League. Prometheus implanted Payne with a bomb and used him to lure the League into a trap. While the plan failed, Payne was apparently killed when the bomb detonated.
Sondra Fuller Edit
Sondra Fuller was the fourth Clayface, also known as Lady Clay being the only female Clayface. Formerly an operative for the terrorist organisation Kobra, she willingly subjected herself to genetic experimentation and was transformed into a clay-like shapeshifter. Dissatisfied with how she originally looked, Fuller revelled in her new power to assume other forms. She would soon after leave Kobra and seek to make a new life for herself, but her power also left her feeling devoid of personality and lacking any real identity.
In search of a kindred spirit, Sondra arrived in Gotham where she would meet the original Clayface, Basil Karlo. Karlo recruited Sondra as a member of the Mud Pack and the group attempted to disgrace Batman. Sondra used her shapeshifting and power replication abilities to take on the identity of Looker, a member of the Outsiders, and was able to lure Batman into a trap. However, the assembly of the Mud Pack was all a ruse on Karlo's part to gain the metamorphic cells of Sondra and Preston Payne, allowing him to gain shapeshifting abilities. Following Karlo's betrayal, Sondra and Preston left Gotham together, finding love with one another and setting out to live a new life.
Years later, Preston and Sondra would have a child together called Cassius. Cassius would be abducted by the villain Abattoir who blackmailed Sondra into confronting Batman, but Sondra was defeated and taken into custody.
- Shapeshifting - Each Clayface (with the exception of Clayface III) is capable of altering their body structure at will, allowing them to change their shape and even consistency, becoming as soft as clay mud or as hard as stone. This shape-changing aspect allows each Clayface the ability to assume other human identities or morph into other creatures or inanimate objects. Each Clayface has used this power to form solid objects out of their clay mass to use as weapons, such as hammers or blades.
- Invulnerability - While not entirely invincible, all of the Clayfaces (except Clayface III) have demonstrated an immunity to standard weapons and attacks. Clayface can, however, still be affected by environmental hazards such as water and extreme temperatures, as well as a variety of chemical agents.
- Immortality - While not confirmed with absolute certainty, Clayface's abnormal cellular makeup may make it impossible for them to die by natural causes such as disease or age.
- Bio-Immolation - Applicable to Clayface III only. After his mutation, Preston Payne became capable of destroying organic matter through touch alone. Contact with another person's flesh would cause it to blister and ultimately liquefy and the effect would rapidly spread through the body like a virus, dissolving a human completely in seconds.
- Bio-Absorption - Applicable to Basil Karlo only. After becoming the Ultimate Clayface, Karlo gained a new ability born from a combination of Lady Clay's shapeshifting and Clayface III's bio-liquefaction: he could absorb organic matter into his body through touch, making his victims' mass his own.
- Power Replication - Applicable to Sondra Fuller only. As well as shapeshifting, Lady Clay could also mimic the powers of certain metahumans, as demonstrated when she assumed the identity of Looker.