Dec 21, 2011

80 Page Christmas: The Sandman.

I recently bought a horrible, horrible condition copy of Marvel Team-Up #1. This issue featured the Human Torch and Spider-Man and of course the villain was THE SANDMAN!

This issue (which was drawn by Ross Andru and written by Roy Thomas) is important because it was the first comic to show the Sandman's potential as a nice guy -- or at least not a completely evil guy. The issue is mostly a chase, with Human Torch and Spidey chasing through the city after the Sandman. But when they found him? Well, it turned out he was visiting his sickly mother for Christmas! Awww!!

The issue features a Spider-man who is absolutely overjoyed with the season -- after all he's about to go on a date with his best girl. It also features a complete Scrooge of a Human Torch, who can't stand the whole Merry Christmas deal, mostly because he can't hook up with his lost girlfriend, the Inhuman Crystal.

By the end of the issue Spidey is still happy, but the Torch is overjoyed with the season too, and giving thanks for what he has. Awww.
You're a mean one
Mr. Grinch!

To me, though, the most important part of this issue is the way the Sandman is handled from a universe perspective. Check this out:

That's right -- Spider-man doesn't consider the Sandman his villain. Why is that? Because, of course, the Sandman graduated up out of Spidey's rogues gallery into a much more important and auspicious rogues gallery. Whose? Well, let's see who Spidey goes to for help:

He goes to an Unstable Molecules article for help!

Okay, okay,that's not exactly the most telling panel ever. But you knew it was the Human Torch, right? The reason he went to the Human Torch is pretty obvious. The Sandman is a Fantastic Four villain! Duh! Here check this out as he uses his costumes and powers as established in the pages of Fantastic Four:

He even name checks the wizard!
I've been having a fight with Rob London about the fact that Sandman is really a Fantastic Four villain for years. He just won't admit that all the Spider-Man stories are irrelevant and the only important part is the Sandman's FF career. So finding a comic that totally admits that Sandman is a Fantastic Four villain, where even SPIDER-MAN thinks so? This is a personal Christmas gift just for me!

--Andrew S.


  1. Sorry, Roy Thomas, but Spider-Man fought the Sandman *three* times before this iesue - Amazing Spider-Man #4, 18-19, and Annual #1.

  2. After being bitten by a radioactive spider, mild-mannered Peter Parker is endowed with the proportionate strength, agility, and attention span of a spider!