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Template:Infobox comic strip Venus Envy is a webcomic written and drawn by Erin Lindsey (a pen name) that deals with transgender issues. It originally updated five days a week, but is currently on a very sporadic Tue-Thu-Sat schedule.
The comic began on December 1, 2001 as an isolated series of jokes with a transgender theme. The current storyline began December 31st of that year. Venus Envy is about the life of Zoë Carter, a young transsexual girl living in Salem, Pennsylvania. She is forced to relocate from her previous home in Punxsutawney and attend a new school due to transphobic harassment.
Major supporting characters include Lisa, a lesbian who plays on the school's soccer team and was the first to discover Zoë's secret; Larson, a transsexual boy who has been illicitly taking testosterone; and Eric, Zoë's promiscuous boyfriend. Her parents are Robert, a teacher, and Helen, an anesthesiologist. Helen is still skeptical about this development in her son's (as she still considers Zoë to be) life, but Robert is more accepting. Zoë's younger brother, Richie, who was initially highly intolerant, has somewhat warmed to her in more recent strips.
In 2003 the author published a "dead tree" comic: Venus Envy #1 - Alex or Zoë: From A to Z, which included the first few weeks of the original storyline, along with Venus Envy: Zero Hour, new material depicting Zoë's life immediately after transition at her old school. A full trade paperback Venus Envy: Too Hot for TV is scheduled for future release. In June 2004, a spin-off comic was created by S. Belmar named Venus Ascending. This features most of the regular Venus Envy characters in a futuristic Science fiction setting, but does not tie into the main continuity at all.
- Zoë Alexis Carter – Born and raised for the first fifteen years of her life as Alexander Thomas Carter, Zoë eventually told her parents what had happened and their reaction was not very good. After months of being hauled from therapist to therapist, all of whom agreed that Zoë was a transsexual, her parents finally agreed to let Zoë begin transitioning. Three months prior to the start of the comic, Zoë's parents allowed her to begin hormone replacement therapy and attend school as herself. Many were not happy about what was happening however and Zoë soon began receiving threats. As soon as her younger brother began receiving the same threats, the family decided that it was time to move where no one knew them. After moving across the state to Salem, Zoë began attending Salem High School as a sophomore.
- Larson Maurice Degado – Raised as Marie Allanis Degado, Larson is the middle child in a family of seven. His family desperately wanted a daughter after having three sons, and as Marie, Larson was very spoiled and treated like a perfect little princess. Unfortunately, he hated every last bit of it. Highly intelligent and empathic, Larson realized how much his parents wanted a daughter and decided to continue down that path to make them happy. The birth of another daughter in the family offered him the chance he needed, and when the family moved Larson began living as himself instead of being Marie. He has also been illicitly taking injections of testosterone to allow himself to develop as a man. He has however run into several issues involving his use of testosterone while not monitored by a doctor.
- Lisa Kimberly Vangough – Lisa is intelligent, attractive, and a skilled athlete. One would expect her to be incredibly popular and a wield a nice amount of power in Salem High. At one time that was the case, but after being outed as a lesbian everything changed. Lisa pretended to be heterosexual, dating girls secretly. Though it made things easier for her, it upset certain other openly lesbian students at school. After being outed to everyone in the school via a videotape, Lisa lost almost all of her popularity and was disliked even among her own soccer team. This has changed lately as she has been a good friend and highly helpful to Zoë, for whom she suffers unrequited love.
- Helen Diane Carter – Helen is Zoë's mother. A self-made woman to say the least, Helen was raised in a poor family and yet made her way through medical school and became an anesthesiologist. Whilst Zoë and Richie were growing up, Helen was the breadwinner of the family, and Robert raised Zoë and Richie. Even now her husband works more to just have something to do than because the family needs the extra income. Helen feels guilty that she wasn't always there for Zoë and believes that may have affected her child and turned her firstborn son into the daughter she now has. Helen wanted a daughter, and fears that her wish may have somehow caused Zoë's transsexuality.
- Robert Allen Carter – Zoë's father and husband of Helen, Robert is an English teacher at Salem High. Staying at home to raise his two children, Robert is probably the biggest influence Zoë ever had in her life. He spent a great amount of time teaching his children about the differences in people and cultures throughout the world and that they should be accepting. He also introduced both of his children to one of his first loves, Shakespeare. Based on his own personal experiences, Robert has vowed to love his children no matter what. Because of this, he is clearly the more supportive parent of Zoë, helping her along in many situations where her mother would have likely not have been nearly as helpful.
- George Richard Carter – Zoë's younger brother, who goes by the name Richie, has hit puberty and as such is beginning to feel that he should assert himself as the alpha-male of the Carter house. With his father very willing to take Richie down a few notches when necessary, the clear victim for Richie's hostility is bound to be Zoë. He carries resentment toward her for a number of reasons, a major one being that he feels that her transsexuality pulled him away from all of his friends and moved him to a new town where he's an outcast. Richie is somewhat dark and antisocial. Lately however he has at least been trying somewhat to be nice to Zoë, and has made a few friends. A source of frustration for him is that his friends both think that Zoë is cute.
- Eric Smith – Eric, like Zoë, formerly lived in Punxsutawney, and also like her he had a major change when he came to Salem. After the death of his sister, he was cleaned up by Grace and turned into the leading member of the school's Casanova Society, apparently deflowering more girls than the others had combined. He met Zoë believing that he could easily take her virginity from her, and quickly made his move. Zoë however was quite unpredictable, and instead of looking merely to have sex with her, Eric developed legitimate feelings for her. Realizing how wrong he had been before, he broke his ties from the Casanova Society and began seriously romancing Zoë.It has been hinted at that in childhood, he and his sister were abused by their mother,
- Bergie Carter – Bergie is Zoë's dog who was adopted a few years ago from a Punxsutawney animal shelter by Zoë's parents to assist in relieving Zoë's (then Alex) depression. Zoë immediately fell in love with the formerly stray bitsa pup, giving her an outlet for many of her loving and motherly impulses. Bergie is very loving of Zoë, loving her like a mother, and would do anything he could to protect her.
Recently, Bergie has been run over by a car, resulting in his death.
- Ashley Brianna Michaels – Once a promising student of ballet and gymnastics, Brianna has developed into a cynical fifteen year old, hateful of society and convinced of her own superiority over others. She also believes herself to have psychic powers, but these have been questioned on occasion. These powers include reading people's minds, and predicting horrible deaths. Her predictions are yet to come true, although her mind-reading powers are quite accurate.
- Nathaniel Michael Blake (Nuke) – Nate Blake was once accustomed to being bullied. Called “four eyes” and “bolt-head” (because of a lightning bolt shaped scar on his head), something inside him finally snapped when people started calling him “Harry Potter”. He bulked up immensely over the summer and returned, calling himself Nuke and founding the school's “Casanova Society”, a group whose members attempt to see who can deflower a particular female target.
- Christopher/Christine Allen Newton – Chris/tine is the eternal optimist. Despite getting beat up fairly frequently, he maintains an exceptionally cheery attitude toward life and is perhaps the most continually nice person in all of Salem. What sets Chris/tine apart though is that he is a crossdresser, choosing to spend a great deal of his free time living as a girl in order to de-stress. He frequently runs into problems due to his chattiness and suspecting many of the people he encounters of being transgender as well.
- James – James is a friend of Zoë that has known her since she was four years old. He has not yet been seen in the comic outside of instant messaging conversations with Zoë . Only a few things are known about him, two being that he lives in Arizona and does not know of Zoë's transition to female, instead believing his friend to be gay.
- Grace - Grace is a prominent member of the Casanova Society. She once had a relationship with Lisa, and had a hand in the videotape that caused Lisa's "fall from Grace". Eric was once her protégé. Has psychopathic tendencies, and has just returned from a mental hospital.
- Erin - An ordinary-looking bespectacled woman in her late twenties and the comic's author. Appears occasionally in filler and one-shots not related to the storyline, most often explaining the comic's lateness; consequently, often seen cranky, depressed or (in extreme cases) drunk. As a firm believer in personal liberty and a just society, she has been known to comment on U.S. political events.
- Erin 2.0 - Erin's deranged spider-hybrid clone, grown from a throwaway joke to a recurring character. The clone is mentally simple and childlike, which doesn't keep it from being very, very deadly. Erin tries her best to keep it from attacking humans and keeps it on a diet of cats.
- Erin 3.0 - A character so far exclusive to guest artists, a tiny chibi with an adorable lisp who is also completely indestructible, which comes in handy since 2.0 has eaten her every single time she's appeared.
- Venus Envy #1 - Alex or Zoë: From A to Z (comic book)
- Venus Envy: Too Hot for TV (graphic novel - upcoming)
- Venus Envy
- Venus Ascending - spin off
- Interview with Erin Lindsey by Comixpedia
- Venus Envy article at Comixpedia.org, a webcomic wiki
- Venus Ascending article at Comixpedia.org, a webcomic wiki