Several individuals have terrorized Gotham under the alter ego of Clayface over the character’s decades-long history, but it was Matt Hagen who debuted in “Batman: The Animated Series” in 1992’s superlative “Feat of Clay.” Whereas in the Silver Age source material, Matt Hagen was a ruthless treasure hunter, the animated series had Matt as a failed actor, taking influence from Basil Karlo, the first comic book Clayface.
After an accident left him horrifically burned, exposure to an experimental compound granted Hagen the ability to shift his now clay-like malleable form — and Clayface’s invulnerability, heightened strength, and improved stamina made him a potent foe for the Caped Crusader. Like many of the individuals in Batman’s rogues gallery, Clayface is ultimately a figure of pity, forced to live his life as a freak, cursed by circumstances beyond his control.
Voiced by genre-favorite Ron Perlman, he endows Clayface with the same sympathetic tones that his portrayal of Hellboy encompassed — a monster feared by many, forced to shun society. His powers, though, mark him as one of the more interesting villains — a product of the Silver Age of comics, which added more science fiction and fantastical elements into the genre. To be able to extend or retract his limbs at will, to be able to morph himself into other individuals, and even split his consciousness between different bodies, makes him an intriguing — and delightfully formidable — adversary.