Mind's Eye Comics Pick!! -- Batman One Bad Day: Clayface
Batman One Bad Day: Clayface, DC Comics
Writers: Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing
The penultimate issue in the Batman: One Bad Day series of one shots, this issue shines the spotlight on Basil Karlo, aka Clayface. It's been awhile since Clayface has been featured in a Batman story, much to my own personal disappointment, and since then he has travelled away from Gotham City to the west coast and Hollywood. Posing as a young aspiring actor named "Clay," Basil goes on an audition, competing for the role with his friend. When his approach to the scene and character are rejected in favor of a more lighthearted approach aimed at the lowest common denominator, and his friend is given the job instead for toting the company line, Basil snaps and begins a string of murders within the cast and crew, hoping to ultimately bring his own values and approach to the movie. Alerted to the string of murders, Batman arrives to apprehend Clayface and the two clash.
Ever since the Batman Animated Series did such a marvelous job of humanizing Clayface, he has been my personal favorite Batman villain. Criminally underrated as a character, I've always found his story both tragic and compelling. Here in this issue, Basil has retreated from Gotham and is trying to find redemption in the form of acting, over-identifying with the arc of a character he's up for. At the end of the day Basil feels rejected by society, alone in the world and he wants his story to be told. When he snaps, because his methods and approach is rejected in favor of a more modern approach, and for trivial nonsense aimed to make money, the reader can feel for him and identify with his reasoning. Perhaps not the murder part, but the reasoning. When Batman himself refuses to listen to Basil, applying his usual brutally cold methodology in apprehending him, Basil is finally shown still seeking an audience for his own pain. A pain like many is ignored by the world around us.