Thursday, April 05, 2007

True Grit: All About the Sandman

I've been eagerly anticipating Spider-Man 3, especially since it features the cinematic debut of a long time personal favorite villain, the Sandman. As a kid, I remember drawing countless pictures of Spidey and Sandman in pitched battle, probably because Sandman's actually pretty easy to draw (troublesome hands and feet become sledgehammers and sand piles.) He’s got one of those great, streamlined origin stories you only got in the Silver Age: Atomic explosion + Thug = Super villain. William Baker a.k.a. Flint Marko a.k.a. the Sandman made his first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #4, but it wasn't long before he became a menace to the Marvel Universe in general, joining the Wizard, Medusa, and the Trapster to form the Frightful Four in Fantastic Four #36:

Eventually, the Wizard decided Sandman did need a costume, and outfitted him with a new suit that allowed him to mix his sand with various chemicals, augmenting his already formidable powers:

Sandman continued to show up throughout the Marvel Universe for years, either with the Frightful Four or as a solo act. Eventually, he ran afoul of Hydro-Man, a similar, water-powered villain. The two men were vying for the affection of the same woman, and came to blows, with "mixed" results:
Spider-Man battled the unstable, mute mud-thing, and the creature dissolved before his eyes, leaving no trace of Hydro-Man or Sandman. As he had done so many times before, Sandman would reform himself, but this time he was feeling the weight of so many “deaths” and so many defeats. In Marvel Two-In-One #86, he and the Thing confronted each other yet again, but this time events played out differently, as the two had a long conversation with nary a punch thrown:

The Sandman tried to reform and start a new life on the legitimate side of the street. In time he gained a presidential pardon and joined the Avengers as a reserve member:

Later he would work for Silver Sable as one of her Wild Pack, with a rather garish new Superhero costume:

Sandman’s heroic phase lasted for over a decade in real time, but nothing much was done with the idea. His time with the Avengers was brief, ending on a bad note when he quit the team, convinced the Avengers would never fully trust him. His next gig with Silver Sable was cut short by that series’ cancellation. I always found it frustrating that he never joined the Thunderbolts, as he was doing what they did long before they started doing it. Marvel being Marvel, the situation was eventually resolved by an editorially-mandated abrupt and clumsy return to status quo. When Sandman next appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #4 (Vol 3? 4? who knows?) as a bodyguard for then-important-supporting-character Senator Ward, it turned out that he had his own sinister plans for the senator, plans he’d cooked up with the Trapster:

Sandman's reversion to villainy was eventually revealed to be the result of his abduction and brainwashing at the hands of his old partner, the Wizard, who thought he was doing Marko a favor. Having lost the trust of the law, and unsure of his true motivations, he lay low for a time until an attack by Venom and another temporary death resulted in the development of several split personalities and the apparent permanent disintegration of his "heroic" persona. Despite this, he appears to have changed for the better, most recently working alongside Spider-Man, who, thanks to the Civil War, is currently just as much an outlaw as he.


Here's Sandy as seen in Spider-Man 3:

In the dark future of Earth X, Sandman is fatter, balder, and crumblier:

If MODOK can have a female version of himself, so can Sandman. Meet Quicksand!


Here's the 1602 Sandman, more like Neil Gaimin’s Morpheus than the standard version:

Finally, here's a fancy Sandman stachoo I can't afford:

That's all. You go now.


coco67 said...

Fatter, balder, and crumblier....I'm the dark future Earth X Coco67!

Woody! said...

That reversal from hero to villain was one of the worst executions I ever saw in comics. I like how there's a blackout and Sandman immediately becomes a bad guy. Instatntly, Ben Grimm is on Marko because he never believed for an instant that Sandman could become a hero. Apparently, he has been spying on Flint every waking moment since he left the bar in MTIO#86.

Crea said...

I just put the sandman statue up for auction on ebay starting at $9.99. Come and check it out. it is ebay item number: 350438194759