Heather After is an ensemble cast member featured in The Dreaming: Waking Hours by G Willow Wilson, Nick Robles, Javier Rodriguez, and M K Perker to date. She is known to the public as the host of her “Spells For the Underemployed” video channel (“The show that teaches you to harness the power of magic so that you too can live Happily Heather After.”) while only a select few know that she is a sorceress and she isn’t the only one in her family.
Heather is the great granddaughter of Roderick Burgess and Ethel Cripps who had an affair. Longtime Sandman readers will remember that Neil Gaiman and Sam Kieth introduced Burgess in Sandman #1 (1989) as the sorcerer who trapped Morpheus, Lord Dream of the Endless, for seventy years. Together Burgess and Ruthven Sykes formed the leadership of the Order of Ancient Mysteries until 1930 when a pregnant Cripps ended the affair with Burgess and began one with his apprentice Sykes. The pair fled England to San Francisco while taking Morpheus’ helmet, a protective ruby amulet, and a pouch of magical sand from the Dreaming. Six years later Cripps took the amulet and left Sykes to start a life of her own and Sykes was soon dead, thanks to a spell cast by Burgess. Cripps gave birth to a boy who she named John. He assumed the name “John Dee” and later became a magic wielding villain named Doctor Destiny; he was imprisoned in Arkham Asylum. Family get togethers are so tense!
Because of her family’s sordid history Heather has vowed to use magic and sorcery for good rather than evil purposes. Initially a bit reluctant, Heather agrees to help Ruin, a nightmare escaped from the Dreaming, and the exiled archangel Jophiel, in Ruin’s quest to rescue Lindy Morris who by a stoke of fate switched places with Ruin and became trapped in the Dreaming. While she is powerful to an extent, Heather isn’t above making a mistake such as when she accidentally summoned the afore mentioned Jophiel, or having a bit too much confidence in summoning Puck who inflicts a wound on her which creates a life threatening danger. Heather is also susceptible to enchantment as is seen when she, Ruin, and Jophiel venture to Faerie and they each fall under spells. Several flashback scenes to Heather’s childhood and youth show her determination to be herself and live life on her own terms.
Clues are placed in several issues to let readers know that Heather is a trans woman. The drugs estradiol, a female hormone, and finasteride, a male hormone blocker, are mentioned in issues #2 and #6. Also in issue #6 Heather’s boyfriend Todd almost gets into a fight with a bar bouncer who starts to use a slur. It’s easy to tell from what we’re shown of Heather and Todd’s relationship that they enjoy being together.
Heather After first appears in The Dreaming Waking Hours #2. Heather is bisexual based on her relationship with Todd and seeing her enjoy the attention of two sensual female Faerie in issues #8 and #9.
Created by G Willow Wilson and Nick Robles. Line art by Nick Robles. Color art by Mat Lopes.
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