Sandman (Marvel Comics)

Sandman (Marvel Comics)


Art by Mark Bagley
real_name= William Baker
publisher=Marvel Comics
debut="Amazing Spider-Man" #4 (September, 1963)
creators=Stan Lee
Steve Ditko
alliances=Sinister Six Frightful Four Avengers
aliases=Flint Marko, Sylvester Mann, Quarryman
*Superhuman strength, durability and endurance
*Mass manipulation
*Density control
*Completely organic sand within body
*Size manipulation
*Earth manipulation
*Flight (in sandstorm form)|

Sandman (William Baker, a.k.a. Flint Marko) is a fictional character who appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character first appeared in "The Amazing Spider-Man" #4 (Sept. 1963), created by writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko as an adversary for the superhero, Spider-Man. A shapeshifter endowed through an accident with the ability to turn himself into sand, he eventually reformed, and became an ally of Spider-Man. The character has been adapted into various other media incarnations of Spider-Man, including animated cartoons and the 2007 film "Spider-Man 3", in which he is played by Thomas Haden Church.

Fictional character biography

At the age of three, William Baker is abandoned by his father and forced to live in poverty with his mother, who works as a cleaning lady for a meager salary, and as a result, succumbs to alcoholism. Because she could not provide luxuries for her son, she sometimes takes him to Coney Island beach, where he relishes creating sand sculptures. He also enjoys sculpting and working with sand in school, where he is encouraged by his teacher, Miss Flint, on whom he has a crush.David, Peter; "Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man Annual" #1; July 2007]

He is bullied in school by a boy named Vic and his two other friends at school, until he learns how to fight, using a technique in which he uses his opponents’ motion against them, “slipping through their fingers like sand”. After this, Vic and the other two bullies become his friends all the way through high school, during which he channels his anger through football, and adopts the nickname “Flint”, both because it sounds imposing and because it reminds him of Miss Flint. He also turns to theft.

After Vic incurs a large debt to the mob, he begs his friend to throw a football game in order to pay off the debt. Flint does so, and his coach throws him off the team, telling him that he would never accomplish anything. Flint beats up the coach, and is expelled from school, after which he turns to a life of crime, and soon finds work as a mob enforcer. He becomes involved in more and more illegal activity, and gradually develops into a violent, bitter man. Eventually he ends up imprisoned on Ryker's Island, where he meets his father, Floyd Baker. He befriends his father, but doesn't reveal who he is, giving only his nickname, Flint, and a false surname, Marko, inspired by his former coach’s taunts about “making a mark” on the world, and which would become his regular alias. (He also changes his name to prevent his mother from discovering that her son had become a criminal. [DeFalco, Tom; "Marvel Two-In-One #86"; April 1982] ) Marko spends years in and out of jail, which is only made bearable only by the presence of his father. After Floyd is released from prison, Marko decides to escape.

Immediately, he flees to a nuclear testing site on a beach near Savannah, Georgia where he comes into contact with sand that had been irradiated by an experimental reactor. His body and the radioactive sand bond, and Marko's molecular structure is altered into an organic sand/dirt-like substance that could transform any part or all of his body into sand. Impressed, he adopts the name Sandman to match his new powers.

Marko clashes with Spider-Man for the first time at the high school which the hero attends as Peter Parker. Spider-Man defeats Marko with a vacuum cleaner, but the villain eventually resurfaces as a member of the Sinister Six, led by Doctor Octopus. After being soundly defeated by Spider-Man several more times, Baker gives up and takes a shot at battling other superheroes. Most notably, he joins the original Frightful Four to combat the Fantastic Four, but this fledgling group of villains are beaten by the experienced heroes. He also fights the Hulk while wearing a diamond-patterned green costume with a purple headpiece. This has not been seen again.

Sandman eventually discovers that — starting with his hand — his body is slowly transforming into glass, although he is able to reverse the effect. Afterwards, he decides to resume his struggle with his original adversary, Spider-Man, and allies himself with Hydro-Man to do battle with their mutual enemy. A freak accident briefly merges the two into an unintelligent and largely ineffective mud monster, but Spider-Man and the police managed to dehydrate it. Many months later, Sandman finally manages to disconnect from Hydro-Man. Afterwards, Baker becomes deeply depressed, and the Thing of the Fantastic Four supports him, and encourages him to use his power in the name of good. Sandman then makes sporadic appearances in various Spider-Man comics, assisting his former enemy. The first such appearance has him coming to the rescue of Spider-Man and Silver Sable, who are outnumbered and surrounded by the Sinister Syndicate. Silver Sable is impressed by Sandman's performance and recruits him as a freelance operative. Sandman also appears as part of the Outlaws, a group of reformed Spider-Man enemies such as Prowler, Rocket Racer, Puma, and Will o' the Wisp, who would turn up from time to time to help Spider-Man.

He briefly joins the Avengers as a reserve member. Later, he becomes a full-time mercenary in the employ of Silver Sable, as a member of her Wild Pack, serving alongside heroes such as Paladin and Battlestar. Sandman is one of the few heroes temporarily overwhelmed by their evil doubles during the Infinity War. This double almost kills the entire Pack. Marko eventually reverts to his villainous ways, claiming to have faked his heroic career, although it is soon revealed that the Wizard used his mind-controlling "Id Machine" to force him to act as a villain.

Sandman then rejoins a new incarnation of the Sinister Six, which is working with one of Spider-Man's deadliest enemies, Venom. Venom reveals that he had joined the team to make sure no one else kills Spider-Man, and turns on the remaining five. Dealing with Baker, Venom rips off and swallows a chunk of sand, which apparently destabilizes Sandman's body structure. His body slowly begins to crumble away. He blames Spider-Man, but ultimately asks him to deliver a message to his mother. He also expresses remorse that he could not pull off the task of becoming an official superhero. The Sandman then crumbles to pieces and seems to die, washing away down a sewer and ending up as part of Jones Beach, New York.

Sandman's body and mind scatter with the grains of sand. The major part of his mind merges with the beach and begins swallowing people in an attempt to piece himself back together. Spider-Man tries to free the captured people from Sandman's beach consciousness, which is his evil mindset, and succeeds when Baker explodes from too many clashing mindsets. Soon the sand of the beach begins to spread to different areas around New York, and all of the different aspects of Sandman's shattered mind form individual beings: Baker's good side, evil side, feminine side and childlike side. Spider-Man locates all of the different versions of Sandman and attempts to convince them to return to one being. Sandman's evil side merges with his child and feminine sides, but Sandman's good side doesn't want to allow evil to become a part of him again. The new Sandman responds by abandoning his good side completely, which eventually crumbles into lifeless sand and blows away. While the new Sandman is not the sadistic monstrosity that his purely evil side was, he is a criminal and seems to lack any desire to become a hero or do good.

Sandman is one of the villains recruited to recover the Identity Disc, but is seemingly killed due to mutinous behavior. At the series' end, Sandman is revealed to be alive and working along with the Vulture to manipulate the other villains.

In the storyline "Sandblasted", which ran in "Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man" #17-19 (April-June 2007), Sandman asks Spider-Man for help in clearing the name of his father, who has been imprisoned for murdering a homeless man. He admits that his father was a petty criminal, but insists he would never kill anyone. Baker also mentions that the victim bears an uncanny resemblance to a picture of Peter Parker's Uncle Ben, who had been murdered years earlier. Sandman and Spider-Man find the true killer, who turns out to be Chameleon 2211. Chameleon 2211 kills the Uncle Ben that Hobgoblin 2211 had brought from an alternate universe (in "Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man" #8) and had been posing as him after that. Thanks to Spider-Man, Floyd Baker is switched with Chameleon 2211 and saved, for which Sandman is grateful to Spider-Man.

Powers and abilities

The Sandman has been transformed into a silicon-based organism with the ability to alter the malleable sand-like substance of his body, which can be compacted, dispersed, or shaped according to his will, something akin to a type of geokinesis limited to sand and small rock particles. Even if his body is blown apart, he is capable of reforming it. His striped shirt and cargo pants are both a part of his mass sand-like body. They are colored to appear as if he were wearing actual clothes.

Most of the time, he is mainly seen transforming his arms and hands into a sand mace or a sledgehammer to battle Spider-Man and his other enemies. He can merge with natural sand if it is in his direct vicinity like a beach or desert, thus he can manipulate normal sand like his normal body, add it to his physical size and strength, or use it to reform himself. Sandman has mental and physical control over every particle of sand in his body. He can also transform into a living sandstorm which allows him to fly great distances.

His body seems to take the physical and chemical qualities of sand, as once he was mixed with cement ingredients and was turned into solid cement. Despite this weakness to cement, he remained alive like this but in a coma-like state, and returned to normal later. He possesses superhuman strength several times in excess of Spider-Man's, allowing him to lift (press) roughly 85 tons (170,000 pounds) under optimal conditions, making him roughly equal to the Thing.

In one story, he wears a uniform devised by the Wizard, which enables him to mix chemicals into his body for various effects, but he has long since discontinued its use. This uniform, like his usual clothing, turns to sand and back when he does. If exposed to extreme heat, Sandman will turn to glass, but if shattered, he can control his glass shard form and reform himself. This, however, takes time to complete. [Larsen, Erik; "Spider-Man Vol.1" #18-23; January 1992-June 1992] He is invulnerable to most physical attacks and projectiles from most firearms simply fly right through him, but he is vulnerable to large amounts of water and ice. In one story, he disintegrates when the supervillain Venom bites off a piece of him, separating it from the main part of his mass and thus causing him to lose control over the rest of his body. After a prolonged period of disintegration, he appears to die, but washed up on a beach, where he reforms himself using the sand he found there.

Other versions


"", a sequel to Neil Gaiman's "Marvel 1602" written by Peter David, features the 1602 version of the Marvel Sandman. While he physically resembles Flint Marko, he has the pale skin and glowing eyes of Gaiman's Morpheus. He also alludes to an ability to summon nightmares. In the fourth issue he is able to send Ben Grimm to sleep by blowing a vapor or dust at him. Both the Sandman and Trapster are crushed by falling debris when Bensaylum collapses, the two of them apparently dying.

Marvel Zombies

In "", the Sandman, having become a zombie, appears to attack Wolverine and Magneto alongside several other Spider-Man villains during an attempt to evacuate innocent civilians into a S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier.

pider-Man: Reign

In "" Sandman is a part of an elderly Sinister Six, but when his daughter is killed he abandons the Six, and helps Spider-Man defeat them and Venom.


In "Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham" #12 Sandman appears as a manatee called Sandmanatee.

Ultimate Sandman

In the Ultimate Marvel universe, Flint Marko (which is his birthname) is a genetic mutation of the industrialist Justin Hammer, one of the results of an attempt to recreate the Super Soldier Serum. Shortly after Hammer is killed by Dr. Octopus, S.H.I.E.L.D. infiltrates Hammer's factory to take care of any experiments Hammer had been working on. Marko uses this opportunity to escape and wreak havoc upon New Jersey. S.H.I.E.L.D., with the help of Spider-Man, contains him and imprisons him in a S.H.I.E.L.D holding facility. There, he meets fellow genetic fugitives Norman Osborn (Green Goblin), Dr. Otto Octavius (Doctor Octopus), Max Dillon (Electro), and Kraven the Hunter. Under the Green Goblin and Dr. Octopus's leadership, the five break free and capture Spider-Man to form the Ultimate Six. Marko participates with the group in an attack on the White House. However, he is defeated by Iron Man. After the battle, S.H.I.E.L.D. seals Marko in various jars and keeps them frozen.

Artist Mark Bagley, who drew the first 100+ issues of "Ultimate Spider-Man", noted in his rough designs for Ultimate Sandman that he would appear "Nekkid" most of the time. As he wanted to go with the more 'realistic' feel of the Ultimate imprint, he doubted whether Flint Marko's clothing had unstable molecules like his body.

In other media


Early animation

* Sandman appears in the 1960s "Spider-Man" episode "The Sands of Crime".
* Sandman appears in the 1970s "Fantastic Four" episode "The Frightful Four" as part of the titular Frightful Four.
* Sandman appears in the 1981 "Spider-Man" cartoon in "The Sandman is Coming".
* Sandman appears in a similar episode of "Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends", "Spider-Man: Unmasked!", where he is voiced by Chris Latta.


* Sandman did not appear in "" because the series did not want to interfere with the continuity of James Cameron's proposed "Spider-Man" movie, in which the Sandman and Electro were supposed to be the villains. Although Electro was belatedly introduced into the series when Cameron's film fell through, Sandman remained unseen in the series, the only major Spider-Man villain not to appear in the show (although Hydro-Man fulfilled many similar roles, and it has been stated that he was indeed essentially used as a replacement for Sandman [ [ Marvel Animation Age Presents: Spider-Man] ] ). Also because of Cameron's film, Sandman did not appear in the "Fantastic Four" cartoon in the 1990s, most notably the episodes featuring the Frightful Four. Instead, he was replaced with Hydro-Man, a character who has similar powers to Sandman, only with water instead of sand, and had already been featured in the Spider-Man cartoon.

="The Spectacular Spider-Man"=

Sandman appears in the "The Spectacular Spider-Man", voiced by John DiMaggio. He appears in the first episode as Wllliam Baker (nicknamed Flint Marko), a petty crook working for Big Man and is regularly caught by Spider-Man, alongside his partner Alex O'Hirn. In the fifth episode, "Competition", Big Man uses Marko as a guinea pig in Oscorp's illegal experiments meant as a attempt to give Marko a super silicon armor; the experiment goes awry, however, and transforms him into the Sandman. [ [ Comics Continuum by Rob Allstetter: Saturday, February 2 2008 ] ] He severs his alliance with Hammerhead and becomes an independent criminal, but is once again defeated by Spider-Man. He reappears in "Group Therapy" where he, alongside Doctor Octopus, Rhino, Shocker and Vulture are busted out of jail by Electro and form the Sinister Six, and rekindles his partnership with Alex O'Hirn, who has now become the Rhino. Despite teaming up with the rest of the Six, Sandman is defeated yet again by a symbiote-controlled Spider-Man when he subjects him to Shocker's gauntlets, causing him to be unable to put himself back to normal.


Thomas Haden Church played Sandman in the 2007 feature film "Spider-Man 3". In the film, Sandman's origins are similar to the comics except for his connection to Spider-Man's origin. Flint Marko steals to pay for medical treatment for his terminally ill daughter, Penny. While on the run from the police after escaping from prison, he accidentally falls into an experimental particle accelerator that molecularly binds him with sand, giving him shapeshifting sand abilities. A major focus of the plot involves Marko's connection to the murder of Ben Parker (Cliff Robertson), Spider-Man's uncle, in the first film. Sandman is later spotted by police officers walking down the streets of Manhattan. Sandman gets on top of a dump truck filled with huge amounts of sand. When one of the policemen climbs atop the truck, he is assaulted by a huge fist made out of sand. Having absorbed the truck's sand to add to his mass, a giant Sandman then emerges. The police shoot at Marko, but he manages to escape by turning into a sandstorm and flying away with the wind. At the Spider-Man fair, the sandstorm is spotted, and Spider-Man goes to investigate. In doing so, Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire) confronts Sandman, foiling his attempt to rob an armored truck, but Sandman gets away.

Later, at the police station, it is revealed by Police Captain George Stacy (James Cromwell) that there is evidence implicating Marko as Ben Parker's killer, and he also tells Peter and Aunt May (Rosemary Harris) that the carjacker, Dennis Carradine, that Peter confronted two years earlier was really Marko's accomplice, and did not fire the shot that killed Ben Parker. In the meantime, Sandman robs a bank, and Spider-Man, now with enhanced abilities due to his new black suit, chases him to the subways. During their fight, Spider-Man bursts a water tank, flooding Sandman in water and turning him into mud, which is swept through a sewer grate. Believing that Sandman is dead, Spider-Man leaves; unbeknownst to him, however, Sandman, who is washed out to the river, is able to eventually reconstitute himself. Spider-Man later tears the symbiote off his body in a bell tower after learning of its parasitic nature, and it merges with Eddie Brock, Jr. (Topher Grace) to become Venom, who convinces Sandman to team up with him to destroy Spider-Man. Sandman agrees because he feels that Spider-Man will not stop chasing him until he is dead. The two kidnap Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) and take her to a construction site, forcing Spider-Man to face them both.

During the fight, Sandman uses the site's sand to again increase his size, turning into a version of himself several stories high. After Venom restrains Spider-Man with his webbing, almost strangling him, Sandman nearly beats Spider-Man to death, but for the intervention of Harry Osborn (James Franco), under the guise of the New Goblin, who comes to his friend's aid with his Goblin arsenal. Harry explodes a pumpkin bomb at Sandman, and then distracts Venom enough to free Spider-Man. Working together, the two manage to save Mary Jane, defeat Venom, and temporarily disable Sandman. (Harry and Brock are both killed in the process). Sandman returns to his normal size, and having discovered Spider-Man's real identity, he reveals that he had not wanted to kill Uncle Ben: he had been trying to steal Ben's car at gunpoint, and accidentally shot him in a moment of panic. Realizing that Marko is telling the truth, Spider-Man forgives him. Marko is touched by Spider-Man's compassion, and he shapeshifts and flies away.

Video and computer games

* Sandman appears in the "Spider-Man" "Questprobe" game.
* Sandman is a boss character in the game "The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin". He rises from a sandbox and must be dissipated by striking him with water.
* Sandman is the second boss in "" for the NES.
* Sandman appears as a boss in "".
* Sandman appeared in "" for the PlayStation. He chases Spider-Man all over a construction site, and the hero must turn industrial hoses on him to disrupt his integrity.
* In the "Ultimate Spider-Man" video game, it is shown that Ultimate Beetle has stolen one of the vials containing Flint Marko. The ramifications have yet to be seen. Concept art for the special edition of the game shows Beetle giving the vial to Doctor Doom.
* Sandman appears in the video game adaption of Spider-Man 3 voiced by Thomas Haden Church.
* Sandman appears in "" voiced by Fred Tatasciore. He appears as both a boss and a playable character. In the opening cinematics, Sandman alongside Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin, and Venom are abducted by the P.H.A.N.T.O.M.s and end up under the control of Mysterio. Sandman causes a sandstorm in Egypt and engages Spider-Man in battle. After being freed from the Control Amulet, Sandman joins Spider-Man on his quest.
* Sandman appeared in the game "" as the second boss. He was one of the two battles fought with the black suit.

Action figures

* Sandman was one of the action figures included in Toy Biz' Spider-Man Classics series 12 and re-released in 2005's series 17.
* Sandman is also one of the numerous characters produced in the Marvel line of the block-figures called Minimates.
* Sandman's next incarnation was in the "Spider-Man 3" line, including spin-off series like Marvel Legends.


External links

* [ Sandman] at

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