name: William Baker, a.k.a. Flint Marko
criminal, former adventurer
Group affiliation: None; formerly the
Sinister Six, Wild Pack, Avengers and Frightful Four
Base of operations:
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
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
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
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
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.