Monster of the Day #1617

As I said, there was a lot of Gothic influence in early Batman. One early foe was mad scientist Hugo Strange, who in his second appearance whipped up a bunch of 15 ft tall monster men to plague Gotham. Sadly, I could find so stills of this adventure from Batman issue #1, which also introduced an already psychotically murderous Joker. You’d think early Batman would have more coverage on the Interwebs, but maybe Warners sics their lawyers on anyone they feel is over-using their characters.

There was also very early on the first version of Clayface, a horror actor (“Basil Karlo,” cough) who goes nuts then they remake his greatest film and in his character’s guise as Clayface, murders the cast one by one. Later in the early ’60s when there was more of a sci-fi feel to many of Batman’s villains, Clayface II was introduced, as seen above. Amazingly, this issue came out the month after the debut of Marvel’s Fantastic Four, so it seems unlikely to be a rip-off, just a truly bizarre coincidence. That’s pretty much exactly what the Thing looked like in the early days, before he took on his more familiar rocky appearance.

  • Gamera977

    Yikes, when I first looked at this I thought ‘a Batman and Stretch Armstrong crossover comic!?!?!’

  • bgbear_rnh

    Was Clayface’s power that he could walk into any book with his pony pal too?

  • Beckoning Chasm

    In fairness, there aren’t that many ways to convey “skin like rocks.”

  • Flangepart

    Did not sound like the kind of superpower to brag about at the supervillian bar & grill.
    “So,like…you can get all silly putty-like, and change your appearance?”
    “Well, yeah.”
    “Huh…well woopty dingle doo.”

  • The Rev.

    To be fair, most of Batman’s rogues’ gallery lack any sort of superpowers, so in that context he’s ahead.

  • Ericb

    I was going to say, put this guy in a kiln and he’d be Ben Grimm.

  • Eric Hinkle

    This Clayface was worlds better at first than the later one who was a flesh-melting serial killer.