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Sandman

Real name: William Baker, a.k.a. Flint Marko
Occupation: Professional criminal, former adventurer
Group affiliation: None; formerly the Sinister Six, Wild Pack, Avengers and Frightful Four
Base of operations: Mobile
First appearance: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #4 (1963)

History: William Baker was born and raised in a rough neighborhood of 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 with Spider-Man, New York's friendly neighborhood wall-crawler; the Fantastic Four, the greatest team of super-powered adventurers ever assembled; the Hulk, green-skinned engine of mass destruction; and a number of other costumed champions.

The Sandman later teamed with 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, Marko battled the Fantastic Four countless times. 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 LeFay, 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 Sinister Six -- a team of villains also consisting of the tentacled terror Dr. Octopus; the high-flying, lowdown Vulture; the master illusionist Mysterio; Kraven the Hunter; and 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.

Height: 6 ft. 1 in.
Weight: 240 lbs. in human form, 450 lbs. at maximum density and normal mass
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Brown

Powers: Sandman possesses the ability to transform his body into a malleable, sand-like substance that can be hardened, dispersed or shaped according to his will. Also, he is able to increase his size and mass to an unknown extent by incorporating nearby sand into his form.

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