Matt Hagen, the Silver Age Clayface who was introduced in Detective Comics #298 (cover-dated December 1961), is a rare rebooted character who became more iconic than the original. The Clayface who was introduced in Detective Comics #40 (June 1940) was merely an actor playing a movie monster, while Matt Hagen became much more, as the accident that gave him his abilities essentially transformed him into a shape-shifter. Matt Hagen is the character who defined how we think of Clayface, and there's a Detective Comics #298 (DC, 1961) CGC FN- 5.5 White pages up for auction in the 2022 October 2-3 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122240 at Heritage Auctions.
In the story in this issue, Matt Hagen went skin diving in search of sunken treasure when he literally stumbled into a strange pool in an underwater cave. "A kind of protoplasm" in the pool clung to his body and transformed it completely into a clay-like substance that could be molded with his mind. Hagen immediately used his newfound abilities for crime, but soon found that he had to recharge his power in the underground pool every 48 hours, and this weakness allowed Batman and Robin to capture him at the end of this original saga.
Detective Comics #298 is much more important than the typical "Silver Age first appearance" because the Golden Age Clayface was essentially a throw-away character with only two appearances in that era. Writer Bill Finger and artist Sheldon Moldoff took his name and used it to inspire the concept of this classic Batman villain that we think of today. There's a Detective Comics #298 (DC, 1961) CGC FN- 5.5 White pages up for auction in the 2022 October 2-3 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122240 at Heritage Auctions. If you've never bid at Heritage Auctions before, you can get further information, you can check out their FAQ on the bidding process and related matters.
Detective Comics #298 (DC, 1961) CGC FN- 5.5 White pages. The origin and first appearance of Matt Hagen as the Silver Age Clayface II. Featuring Batman and Robin. Aquaman backup story. Sheldon Moldoff cover and art. Overstreet 2022 FN 6.0 value = $483. CGC census 9/22: 45 in 5.5, 160 higher.
CGC Grader Notes:
staple detached top of spine
light creasing to cover
moderate spine stress lines to cover