William Baker was born and raised in a rough neighborhood in New York City. His father walked out when he was 3 years old, leaving him and his mother impoverished. Baker learned to steal at an early age, and cheated and bluffed his way through school. He excelled at football, but ruined his chances for a college career when he accepted money to throw an important game. Baker was found out and expelled. After landing steady work as a henchman for a gang that ran protection rackets, Baker adopted the name Flint Marko.
Marko became a successful denizen of the New York City underworld, but entertained thoughts of reforming to marry his girlfriend, Marcy Conroy. Arrested for a series of crimes, he was convicted and spent several years in solitary confinement. During that span, Marko grew increasingly hostile. Upon his release, he discovered that Conroy had left him for another member of his gang, Vic Rollins. After exacting brutal revenge on Rollins, Marko embarked on a one-man crime spree. Eventually, he was captured and imprisoned in the maximum-security ward at Ryker's Island. Cutting short his stay, he escaped through an unguarded drainpipe, the knowledge of which he had purchased while in confinement. Marko headed south to start a new life; he was pursued by the FBI, as well as state and local police. Narrowly evading the law on numerous occasions, he made his way down the East Coast.
Marko sought refuge at a nuclear test site near Savannah, Georgia. He was lying on a nearby beach when an experimental reactor's steam system exploded, bombarding him with a massive dose of radiation. After a short period of unconsciousness, Marko awoke to find that he could transform his body into an animated, sand-like substance. Now able to elude the authorities with ease, Marko embarked on a criminal career that brought him into conflict first with Spider-Man, who defeated him by sucking him into a industrial vacuum cleaner; then the Human Torch, who defeated him with an indoor sprinkler system; the incredible Hulk; and a number of other costumed champions.
Later, the Sandman was contacted by Doctor Octopus to join a team of super villains he was creating called the Sinister Six, which included the Vulture, Kraven the Hunter, Electro, and Mysterio. He helped Electro in kidnapping both Betty Brant and May Parker.
After another brief clash with Spider-Man, during which he teamed up with the Enforcers to kidnap the Human Torch the Sandman joined the scientifically empowered Wizard, the paste-tossing Trapster and the then-bewildered Medusa -- a member of the royal family of the Inhumans, a genetic offshoot of mankind as a member of the Frightful Four. Together, they battled the Fantastic Four countless times. Marko later broke out of prison with the Wizard's help, and broke into the Baxter Building a couple times, briefly teaming up with Blastaar when he first escaped from the Negative Zone. Marko even created a new suit that he used to mix various chemicals with his sand at the direction of the Wizard, made from Reed Richards' inventions which he stole. He also acted independently, most often coming into conflict with Spider-Man.
The Sandman's criminal career crumbled when he joined forces with Hydro-Man, who could transform his body into animated water. In a freak mishap, the Sandman and Hydro-Man combined to form a grotesque, mud-like monster. The authorities subdued the creature, rendering it harmless, and its remains were transported to the police forensic laboratory in Manhattan. There, scientists sought to analyze the composition of the unusual mud, but determined with the instruments at their disposal that it was inanimate. They decided to seal the substance in a container and dispose of it. Apparently as a delayed effect of the analytic procedures, the mud spontaneously separated into the two criminals, who burst free of their container.
The ordeal so traumatized the Sandman that he decided to reform, using his powers for mankind's benefit. Though there was a period of speculation among the general populace as to whether his intentions were sincere, he gained the public's trust and joined the Wild Pack, an international team of mercenaries. The Sandman even became a probationary member of the Avengers, Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
After he helped the Avengers defeat the sorceress Morgan Le Fay, Baker again became the man he had grown to despise: Flint Marko. The Wizard brainwashed the Sandman into believing he had faked his well-intentioned heroics. It was first learned that the Sandman's mind had been tampered with following his attack on the life of the mysterious Senator Stewart Ward. The Sandman then joined the new Sinister Six -- which included the extraterrestrial-human hybrid Venom. After Venom's teammates humiliated him in battle, he set out to take revenge on each of them. During a heated clash, the alien symbiote bit off a chunk of the Sandman's mass. As a result, the Sandman began to lose bits of himself until he eventually dissipated. Apparently delirious from his condition, he sought out Spider-Man to exact his final vengeance. Try as he might, he was unable to muster the strength to overcome the wall-crawler. The despondent Sandman then lost cohesion and was washed away into a New York City storm drain.
Sandman's body and mind scattered with the grains of sand. The major part of his mind merged with the beach and began swallowing people in an attempt to piece himself back together. Spider-Man tried to free the captured people from Sandman's beach consciousness, which was his evil mindset, and succeeded when Marko exploded from too many clashing mindsets. Soon the sand of the beach began to spread to different areas around New York, and all of the different aspects of Sandman's shattered mind formed individual beings - Marko's good side, evil side, feminine side and childlike side. Spider-Man located all of the different versions of Sandman and attempted to convince them to return to one being. Sandman's evil side merged with his child and feminine sides, but Sandman's good side didn't want to allow evil to become a part of him again. The new Sandman responded by abandoning his good side completely, which eventually crumbled into lifeless sand and blew away. While the new Sandman was not the sadistic monstrosity that his purely evil side was, he was a criminal and seemed to lack any desire to become a hero or do good.
Sandman was one of the villains recruited to recover the Identity Disc, but was seemingly killed due to mutinous behavior. Sandman was revealed to be alive and working along with the Vulture to manipulate the other villains.
Recently, the Sandman approached Spider-Man asking for help in clearing the name of his father, who had been imprisoned for murdering a bum. Baker admitted that his father was a petty criminal, but insisted he would never go so far as to kill anybody. Baker also mentioned that the victim bore an uncanny resemblance to a picture of Peter Parker's Uncle Ben. Following a set of leads, Spider-Man and Sandman found out that the supposed killer was none other than an alternate version of Peter's supposedly dead Uncle Ben.
Rejoining the Sinister Six
Time later, Doctor Octopus, in his plant to be remembered as the man who saved Earth, offered the chance to stop the Greenhouse effect, as well as speed it up, using a special device connected with different satellites on the orbit.
Disguised as Al Gore, Chameleon tried to accelerate the decision of world's leaders about the matter, but was uncovered by Spider-Man, who irrupted the scene along the Avengers. When the Chameleon was freed, he arrived in the Mediterranean on a meeting with the rest of the team. The Avengers followed them and arrived, fighting the Sinister Six, but they where all defeated by the villains, the price of the battle was Electro, who was sent to space by Thor.
Using an explosion as a distraction, Silver Sable saved Spider-Man and Black Widow. When they tried to get to one of Octavius manufacturing plants of satellites, they defeated and captured Sandman in the Sahara, but Octavius asked for help to all nations, due his position in the matter, to capture Spider-Man.
Otto Octavius, who switched bodies with Peter Parker to evade death and now works as Spider-Man, was later shown to possess Sandman's head in a containment unit, apparently the first villain collected to recreate his Sinister Six.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
- Body Conversion- Sand: The Sandman possesses the superhuman ability to convert his body into sand by mental command. The sand functions identically to, and appears to be, normal flesh. However, he can convert all or parts of his body into animated sand at will. His brain has attained subliminal awareness of all granulated particles of his body. Through conscious effort, he can affect the degree of molecular cohesion between the numerous adjoining surfaces of his particles and thus cause locomotion of discrete volumes, down to the individual grains.
- Superhuman Strength: As a consequence of having a body composed of animated sand, the Sandman possesses phenomenal superhuman strength, able to lift up to 85 tons under optimal conditions.
- Density Control: His radically mutagenically altered body composition and increased density enable him to compact or loosen the particles of sand that make up his form. Consequently, the Sandman can become as hard as sandstone, or disperse his body so that he becomes invulnerable to physical attacks. A favorite tactic of the Sandman is making himself slightly dispersed when an opponent punches him, and then making himself rock-solid again, entrapping his opponent's appendage.
- Shape-shifting: He can shape his sand-state body into any continuous shape he can imagine, including his forearms into weapons like hammers, spiked maces, and large fists, stretching, elongating, deforming, expanding, flattening, or compressing all or portions of his body at will, like Mr. Fantastic, phase through small openings, etc.
- Sand Blasts: He can project his sand particles outward at high speeds and, when in the shape of a bulky object, with the impact of a large sandbag.
- Glass Generation: More recently, the Sandman learned some new tricks from the Wizard, including altering the formation of his sand particles and reshaping them into glass. This grants him the ability to reflect light and energy off of him.
The Sandman is vulnerable to heat: temperatures of 3,400 degrees Fahrenheit can cause his highly impure silicate composition to fuse into amorphous silicate (glass).
- Reformation: The Sandman maintains mental control of the particles of which his body is composed so that he can reform his scattered grains unless a substantial portion of his body mass has been isolated.
- Sand Conversion: Apparently, he can also convert common grains of sand around him into constituents of his body to replenish portions he might lose track of during battle. In this manner, he can increase his overall size and volume (to some as yet unknown limit), or that of his limbs.
There appears to be no limit to how long the Sandman can remain in his sand-state. If he were to be rendered unconscious while in his sand-state, he would remain in that state, although the relaxing of his control over his particles would cause him to become an amorphous pile of sand.
The Sandman's mind continues to function in astral form even when he has turned his head into sand and even when the particles of sand that composed his brain are widely scattered. The limit to how far the particles of his brain can be dispersed before he is unable to reassemble is not yet known.
Strength levelThe Sandman is a superhuman being who is able to lift (press) up to 85 tons under standard conditions.
Water: The Sandman's weakness that makes him most vulnerable is water. Water can soften his sand granules therefore, Sandman cannot control them and has to wait for them to dry.
"Queen bee" grain": Over the years, Spider-Man managed to discover that Sandman's consciousness is located in only one grain of sand, which has Marko's brain pattern and is responsible for commanding the other grains of sand what form to take. With the proper instruments, it can be induced to it different ideas which makes Marko change his form against his will. If that grain is separated from the anothers and isolated, Marko can't recover his mass.
The Sandman briefly used a suit that he created with Reed Richards' stolen equipment, that he used to mix chemicals with his sand to create new effects. Some of the chemicals could make his sand into a slippery puddle, a sandstorm, solidify him to a brick-like form, adhere him to vertical walls, and coat him with a substance that would turn into a poisonous powder when heated by the Human Torch's flame.
- Sandman was one of the characters featured in Series A of the Marvel Value Stamps issued in the 1970's.
- This character appears in TSR Inc.'s RPG adventure The Weird, Weird West. In the plot, he had been hired by Doctor Doom in 1968 to travel back in time to 1871 Dodge City. Alongside with other super-villains (including Black Knight, Scorpion and Mysterio), he was to provide support to Doom while he analyzed a time anomaly and tried to obtain profit from it. Doom took his lackeys (no name was provided for the team) to a Krozzar camp to deal with the Krozzars. Doom eventually found the origin of the anomaly, a chronovore, but he and his lackeys were also found by time-traveling heroes from 1989, and defeated.
- 316 Appearances of William Baker (Earth-616)
- 44 Images featuring William Baker (Earth-616)
- 5 Quotations by or about William Baker (Earth-616)
- Character Gallery: William Baker (Earth-616)
- Fan-Art Gallery: William Baker (Earth-616)
- Characters killed by Sandman
- Sandman profile at Spiderfan.org
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- ↑ Amazing Spider-Man #4
- ↑ Strange Tales #115
- ↑ Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1
- ↑ Amazing Spider-Man #18
- ↑ Amazing Spider-Man #19
- ↑ Fantastic Four #36
- ↑ Fantastic Four #38
- ↑ Fantastic Four #41- #43
- ↑ Fantastic Four #57
- ↑ Fantastic Four #62-Fantastic Four #63
- ↑ Fantastic Four #61
- ↑ Amazing Spider-Man #682
- ↑ Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z hardcover Vol. 10
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