Appearing in "Time Runs Like Sand!"
- Mud Thing (Only in flashback)
- Fantastic Four (Only in flashback)
- Spider-Man (Only in flashback)
- Hulk (Only in flashback)
- Machine Man (Only in flashback)
Synopsis for "Time Runs Like Sand!"
Helping Mister Fantastic in his lab the Thing hears some recent news about their old foe, the Sandman. Reed tells how he and the water-based villain known as Hydro-Man were accidentally merged into a single entity dubbed the Mud Thing until the moisture was dried from their collective body and it crumbled and was turned over to the police. Coincidentally as this is being spoken of, police forensic scientists have given up on trying to separate Sandman from Hydro-Man. After one last chemical test, they give the pair up for dead and take the sealed container holding their remains and have it thrown out in a dump. However the process was slow working and once the canister is left in the dump, both Sandman and Hydro-Man manage to free themselves, finally separated from months of being fused together. The entire experience has left both men profoundly disturbed and Hydro-Man decides to cut and run, leaving the Sandman to make sense of the experience alone.
Heading into the city, Sandman realizes that he is still wanted and, with his powers on the fritz, he could easily be recognized and arrested. After stealing some clothing from a Salvation Army drop-off box, he then tries begging for some change from a man, but when he gets some attitude, Sandman resorts to brawn to convince the man to turn over enough money for him to go into the nearest bar and have a drink. Not long after the Sandman's arrival is he recognized by the bartender. After serving Sandman a drink, the barkeep then tries to call the Fantastic Four for help. Incidentally, he is successful at getting a hold of the Thing who agrees to go down to the bar and check out the bartender's claims, if only for a few drinks if the call turns out to be a hoax.
Taking a Sky-Cycle to the bar, Ben is surprised to see that the caller was correct in identifying the Sandman at the bar. When the Thing lifts a table ready for a fight he is shocked when the Sandman willingly surrenders. Shocked by this, Ben realizes that there is something the matter with his old foe and he decides to sit down and have a few drinks and talk things out. As it turns out, the Sandman has been reevaluating his life and talks about his past. He tells the Thing that he lived in a poor household with his mother. He tells the Thing that his name is Flint Marko. Growing up he began to steal thing and became a bully to his classmates. In high school, Flint was the most brutal player on the school football team. However, his career was cut short when it was discovered that he was throwing games to the benefit of local gamblers and was kicked off the team and expelled. Marko then went into petty crime, keeping the truth of the origin of the wealth he earned from his crimes a secret from his mother. Soon, the Sandman rose up in the ranks of petty crime.
Everything seemed to be working out for him, he even got a girl named Marcy. However, when he was eventually caught and put in jail, he discovered that Marcy had started an affair with his best friend. Driven crazy by this betrayal, Flint went on another crime spree and was arrested again. Breaking out of prison and on the run from the law, Marko ended up on a military facility where exposure to radiation caused his transformation into the Sandman.
From there, the Sandman recounts his career as a super-villain and his defeats at the hands of Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, and Machine Man. Finishing his tale of woe, the Thing asks where the Sandman plans on going next. The Sandman figures it is jail. Moved by this story, Ben decides that the Sandman deserves a second chance and leaves him a few more dollars and tells him to keep on the straight and narrow or he will bring him in.
Appearing in "Farewell, My Lummox!"
Synopsis for "Farewell, My Lummox!"
Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Girl are going out on a date and have left their son Franklin in the care of the Thing for the evening. As Ben entertains his godson from the evening the pair are eventually interrupted by the arrival of the Impossible Man and his wife the Impossible Woman, much to the Thing's dismay. The two imps are happy to announce that they have started their own family, introducing Ben and Franklin to the Impossible Kids. The Impossible Man and Woman ask to use Reed's computers to find a new world to live in. The Thing reluctantly agrees to watch the Impossible Kids do so. The Impossible Children prove to be more trouble than their worth, especially when one of the children tags along with Franklin to watch television, influencing the others by what is seen on TV. Eventually, the Impossible parents find a suitable world -- which they dub Pupppup II -- and take leave with their children, much to the Thing's relief.
Time Runs Like Sand!
- The Sandman gives his name as Flint Marko in this story, but this is actually an alias. The origins of this alias is explored in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man Annual #1 which also provides an expanded look into Sandman's past that are only glossed over in this story. That story states that the reason why Marko was expelled from school was not because of gambling, but because he assaulted his coach. The story also states that the reason why Marko allowed himself to be arrested was in the hopes of reconnecting with his estranged father Floyd Baker. The differences between the two stories could be chalked up to the fact that the Sandman is amending his recollection in order to gain the Thing's sympathy.
- The Sandman states that he got his powers thanks to the testing of a "nuclear device". Amazing Spider-Man #4 states that it was a nuclear bomb test, while Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man Annual #1 states that it was a nuclear reactor exploding. Giant-Size Spider-Man Vol 2 #1 states that Baker was affected by radioactive waste. That said, the exact source of the Sandman's powers is considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
- The Sandman goes the various heroes he fought in the past. He first battled Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #4, the Human Torch in Strange Tales #115, Fantastic Four as a team in Fantastic Four #36, the Hulk in Incredible Hulk #113, and Machine Man in Marvel Team-Up #99.
- The Sandman actually makes a legitimate effort to reform starting this issue. This lasts until his old Frightful Four ally the Wizard uses his ID Machine to turn him back into a criminal in Peter Parker: Spider-Man Vol 2 #12.
Farewell My Lummox!
- The Impossible Man created his wife back in Marvel Two-In-One #60.
- The Impossible Man and Woman are seeking to find a new world because the Impossible Man allowed Poppup to be consumed by Galactus in Fantastic Four #175.
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