- "There is no Hagen. It's only me now...Clayface!"
The DCAU version of Clayface was Matt Hagen, who was a noted actor who became Clayface after over-exposure to Renuyu.
Batman: The Animated Series
In Batman: The Animated Series, several episodes featured a more tragic Clayface character, who was voiced by Ron Perlman, that combined aspects of several of the comic-book Clayfaces.
In the two part episode Feat of Clay, Clayface was introduced as Matt Hagen, a past-his-prime actor who was disfigured in a horrible car accident. While he recovered in a burn clinic, Hagen was approached by corrupt businessman Roland Daggett, who made him a test subject for a compound called "RenuYou" (pronounced "Renew You") that he promised would immediately restore his youthful good looks. In exchange, Hagen must impersonate people in illegal roles for Daggett. Hagen greatly resented that, but he was forced to comply, as the RenuYou chemical was extremely addictive. Daggett had Hagen impersonate Bruce Wayne in order to obtain documents from Lucius Fox, but he failed due to Batman's interference, Lucius who was inadvertently wounded; and Bruce Wayne was arrested for assault and brought in for questioning. Hagen attempted to steal a large quantity of RenuYou from Daggett's compound, was seized by Daggett's henchmen; they then tried to kill him by pouring an entire canister of the compound on his face. Rather than kill him, however, the overdose saturates every cell in Hagen's body, and turned him into a bulky and misshapen clay like form who could, for short periods of time, shape-shift into anything or anybody that he wished. After he tried to get revenge on Daggett, Hagen was stopped by Batman and, upon being caught, faked his death.
Clayface reappeared in the episode Mudslide, in which he was in hiding since the events of "Feat of Clay" and in which his body began to deteriorate. Hagen was restored to a semblance of health by a former medical adviser on his films, Dr. Stella Bates, who fell in love with Hagen. She sold her motel in order to raise funds for a laboratory in which to treat him. Batman tracked Hagen down and prevented Dr. Bates' treatment of Clayface (partly because he stole the necessary formula compound from Wayne Biomedical Labs). He and Clayface then fought, but Hagen's unstable clay form absorbed too much rainwater to hold its cohesion, and Hagen fell into the ocean, and he was destroyed once he dissolved. (That episode was notable for its numerous references to classic movies, and in-jokes associated with Clayface's history as an actor. For example, Dr. "Bates" owned a "motel," referencing Psycho, while, at the end, a rain-washed Clayface moaned for the doctor, crying, "Stella!", in reference to A Streetcar Named Desire.) An action figure of that version of Clayface was featured in Batman: The Animated Series toy line and featured a firing spiked ball.
The New Batman Adventures
Like Two-Face, Clayface's appearance underwent little change when Batman: The Animated Series became The New Batman Adventures. Clayface's appearance was a bit lighter, but overall, his form was quite comparable to the original depiction. In The New Batman Adventures, Hagen's character re-formed again in "Growing Pains", in which Robin (Tim Drake) befriended a lost, amnesiac little girl that he named "Annie". The child turned out to be a portion of Clayface - who returned to life by way of some strange chemicals - that had gained sentience and an identity on its own, and, in the end, was re-absorbed into the main body of the villain, and effectively "killed" the girl as a separate person. Due to that, Robin (who had feelings for her) mumbled the extra charge of murder to himself as Clayface was taken by the police. Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) was also shown battling Clayface in one segment of a Christmas themed episode, "Holiday Knights", in which Clayface further expanded his separative ability by posing as four separate children at once to shoplift from the Gotham department stores at the height of the Christmas Eve Rush.
Clayface made his return to action in Justice League, where it was revealed that at some point, he had been captured, separated, and sealed into several biohazard canisters by Morgan Edge. Gorilla Grodd and his newly-formed Secret Society attacked Edge's mansion, freed Clayface, and offered him a position in their group. Although Clayface was reluctant at first, Grodd promised to find a way to revert him back to his human form. Clayface was defeated when The Flash planted fireworks in his clay body and Hawkgirl ignited them, and blew Clayface apart. He resurfaced in a later issue of the JLU Comic.
Powers and Abilities
In Batman: The Animated Series, Clayface's unique cellular structure allowed him to transform his body into any shape or form that he desired. A former talented actor, that gave Hagen the capability to impersonate people with ease, which allowed him to escape arrest frequently. Additionally, Clayface could extend his limbs a considerable distance, and could also control his size and density. Because of that, he was able to fashion blades, spikes, and massive blocks out of his form. Finally, his amorphous body was able to absorb various objects, which he used to suffocate opponents. After he was revived by the chemicals at the factory, Clayface had the ability to separate himself into different entities at once. And while he faked his death by electrocution in his first run in with Batman, it was later proven that voltage had no detrimental affect on his clay body. In later circumstances however, Batman was able to restrain him with an electrified Batarang. It was never revealed why that worked, although one could assume that the electric current disrupted the composition of his clay-like body.
- Secret Society Part I
- Secret Society Part II
- This incarnation of Clayface is effectively a hybrid of the three main incarnations of the Batman Villain which preceded him.
- He resembles Basil Karlo (the Golden Age Clayface) in that he was an actor; even being nicknamed "The Man of a Thousand Faces" which was a moniker used for the real-life actor Lon Chaney who was an inspiration behind the creation of Karlo's character. Since BtaS, Basil Karlo's characterization in the comics has also been often lifted from the DCAU Hagen.
- Obviously Matt shares his name with Matt Hagen, the Silver Age Clayface but in-addition to this, the shapeshifting clay behemoth version of Clayface originates from Hagen's incarnation of the character.
- The DCAU Clayface resembles the Bronze Age Clayface, Preston Payne in the more tragic portrayal of his character. Also, Hagen's characterization resembles that of Payne as he appeared in Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on a Serious Earth in having Hagen's condition objectively analogous for the consequence of the male AIDS pandemic (albeit in the DCAU it is handled sympathetically whereas in Grant Morrison's novel it was vilified).
- Clayface was only featured twice in the original iteration of Batman The Animated Series due to the high animation cost of his inclusion. The episode Mudslide was originally meant to be his last appearance in the series. Eventually, Clayface would make a return in The New Batman Adventures with the episode Growing Pains bridging the gap from Mudslide’s ending.