|Citizen of the United States.|
|Nation or Planet of Origin|
|Base of Operations|
|Black - Now Clay|
Biologically altered human with the ability to reduce flesh to protoplasm via physical touch. Payne possesses superhuman strength, speed and stamina via an exoskeleton used to keep his body coherent.
|Exoskeleton used to contain the physical structure of Preston Payne.|
|Detective Comics #478 (July - Aug. 1978)|
|Len Wein & Marshall Rogers|
Matt Hagen was searching for sunken treasure when he discovered an underground grotto that contained a bizarre glowing pool of protoplasm. Accidentally slipping into the pool, Hagen emerged with his skin transformed into a clay-like consistency. Desiring to return into his formerly handsome form he found that he could mentally control the shape of his body. Using his new found ability he engaged in a life of crime as Clayface.
Hagen discovered that his abilities were limited by a 48 hour time period and he returned time and again to bath in the protoplasm. Hagen even developed a synthetic form of the protoplasm, but it began to have deleterious effect on his body.
While in prison after being apprehended yet again by the Batman, Hagen was visited by S.T.A.R. Labs scientist Preston Payne, who desired to use the protoplasm to make himself handsome. Isolating an enzyme in Hagen's blood, Payne injected himself with a serum which made his body malleable. Transforming himself into an Adonis, Payne became quite the ladies man - unfortunately the serum manifested into a nasty side effect which liquefied his body and made his touch reduce others to protoplasm.
Realizing that his condition was contagious, Payne isolated himself within a powerful exoskeleton. To his additional horror Payne discovered that his survival periodically demanded that he unleash his destructive power upon hapless victims as the monstrous Clayface.