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Webcomic / Venus Envy

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Venus Envy is a transgender-centered Slice of Life webcomic which is notable for portraying the subject matter more realistically than most at the time, rather than taking the Transformation Comic route. The comic was written and illustrated by Crystal Frasier under the name "Erin Lindsey."

It originally started as a simple gag comic about a trans girl, but the nameless lead character soon developed into the comic's heroine, Zoë (assigned name Alex) Carter. The story itself is a Teen Dramedy that centers around Zoë's life as a girl in her new town, where no one (with a couple of exceptions) knows that she was Alexander Carter just a few months ago. The title of the comic is, of course, a pun on Sigmund Freud's thesis of penis envy, which obviously fails at a girl who's actively trying to get rid of her penis.

The webcomic briefly succumbed to Orphaned Series syndrome, due to the author's then-waning interest and busy real-life. Due to the original comic's cliffhanger ending and popular demand, Trans Girl Diaries did a fan follow-up (essentially a webcomic Doujinshi), here, which mimicked the style of the original comic and was well received by the VE fandom.

The author herself seems to have been pleased by this: The comic kept being updated, albeit sporadically, and seems to be following the basic outline of the aforementioned doujinshi. Since January 2014, Venus Envy is on indefinite hiatus. A backup of the pages can be found here.

This webcomic contains examples of:

  • Above the Influence: Eric turns down Zoë at the prom. He can tell her drink was spiked.
  • A-Cup Angst: Zoë is a bit touchy about her breasts because, so far, hormone therapy hasn't been particularly generous in that regard.
  • Animesque: The more recent comics have moved away from this style, though.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Zoë's little brother Richie, who calls her a fag, "queer", and "perverse".
  • Arc Words: "Hello Alex. Don't you look pretty in that dress."
  • Art Evolution: So, so much. In a rare example for a Webcomic, it goes away from a Animesque look as it evolves.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Chris, the crossdresser, makes a very attractive girl. Also, Zoë made an attractive boy.
  • Author Avatar: Erin herself occasionally appears in non-canon strips (sometimes to deliver an Author Filibuster), along with her evil spider-clone, Erin 2.0.
  • Crossover: This page crosses over with the webcomic Lean On Me.
  • Berserk Button: If you want to avoid a trip to the emergency room, Larson is not "Marie", or a lesbian, for that matter. And don't call Nuke "Harry Potter". Just don't.
  • Big Fancy House: Lisa lives in one of these.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Bergy
  • Boomerang Bigot: Cody called "Alex" (pre-Zoë) a faggot... then raped "Alex", whom he considered a boy and who still lived as a boy then. Disgusting on so many levels, but also a hell of hypocritical.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Larson and Zoë
  • The Casanova: Eric, in a more overtly creepy way than most examples. Like recognising the symptoms of a date-rape drug.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The comic was never exactly light, but as the art changes it gets progressively darker and more serious, with Nina as the Knight of Cerebus.
  • Cheeky Mouth: Moreso in the earlier comics.
  • Chekhov's Skill: In a crowning example of the use of the trope, Zoë's Tai Chi. Useful when a murderer is charging you. Of course, then you go and hug the murderer...
  • Coming-Out Story
  • Content Warnings: While the comic is fairly worksafe, there are rather frank discussions of gender and sexuality issues, as well as the occasional nipple.
  • Chirping Crickets: parodied
  • Cute and Psycho: Nina. Oh gods, Nina.
  • Daddy's Girl: Downplayed, but Zoë actually is one. Her father also scolds her when he's annoyed by her behavior, but he protects her from her mother's more unkind treatments, supports her transition as she's visibly happier for it and, when Zoë's mother wants to make her dress like a boy, he brings her girl's clothing including a necklace to cover her Adam's apple, causing Zoë to squee in happiness.
    Zoë: I love my Daddy!
  • Dirty Old Man: One of the members of the LGBT support group; he first hit on Zoë and then apparently tried to grope Larson, who proceeded to beat a tooth out of the guy's mouth. Note that both of them are visibly underage.
  • Does Not Like Men: Lisa, who won't even speak to boys other than Chris if she can help it. The sheer fact that someone has a penis makes them a potential rapist in her book.
  • Dramedy
  • Easy Sex Change: Completely averted. We see the lengths Larson and Zoë have to go to cover their anatomy in everyday life, the psychological stress caused by regularly consuming several medications and hormones, the partly really awful attitudes their families have about them, the vastly subduing effect it has on their love lives, self loathing, doubts, depressions... it is definitely anything but easy.
  • Erotic Dream: Larson and Zoë each have one about the respective other, much to their confusion.
  • Everything Sounds Sexier in French: Coach Lonov teaches the girls various Russian phrases to intimidate the opposing team.
  • Fan Sequel: Provided by Trans Girl Diaries.
  • Fake Period Excuse: To get out of an embarrassing situation, Zoë claims towards a teacher she needs to go to the toilet to deal with "female problems", despite her being, of course, unable to have a period.
  • Falling into His Arms: Zoë falls straight into Eric's arms.
  • Femme Fatale: Grace.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Grace. Nina too.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Although she changed it anyways, Zoë's assigned name is Alex.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: They show up for Zoë a lot.
  • Groin Attack: Zoë getting hit by a soccer ball in the crotch and chest is a running gag.
  • Hidden Buxom: Larson, using the tape as breast-bindings. Lisa caught a glimpse of them in the shower and assumed they were for wounds; when asked about it, Larson said he was secretly part of an underground kung-fu ring.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Larson, oh so much. It shows for the first time when he brings Zoë, to whom he'd only been antagonistic so far, estrogen after her mother took her hormones away. Around this time, it also becomes more apparent that Larson is not so much spying on Zoë as watching out for her.
  • Irony: Nina thinks Zoë is the perfect girl.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Richie, Eric, and Larson.
  • Kiss-Kiss-Slap: Zoë and Larson
  • Klingon Promotion: Nina attempts this twice.
  • Lethal Chef: Zoë.
  • Love Dodecahedron
  • Love Redeems: Eric
  • Mother Russia Makes You Strong: Coach Lonov. Lampshaded when the entire team starts spouting off random Russian to scare the other teams.
  • My Beloved Smother: Zoë's mother doesn't want her to go out alone in the evening, because she thinks "someone like her" is even more endangered than "a normal girl". Seeing that Zoë went on a date with a boy, not a girl, she completely loses it. There's also the fact that, one day, she tries to bond with her kid, the next day she plots to manipulate Zoë into giving up hormone therapy because she just doesn't want to acknowledge that Zoë is happier and more self-confident because she lives as a girl now.
    • Though, in all fairness, when it comes to dating, Zoë's father shows a bit of the same streak, if not quite as extreme.
  • Open-Minded Parent: Subverted. When Zoë is trying to tell her mother that she's transgender, her mom says: "It's okay, honey. We love you even if you're gay. You will always be our little boy." As Zoë tells her that she's indeed a girl, her mother shows to be completely unwilling to accept this.
    • Humorously inverted with her father. When Zoë's mother comes up to tell him, "our son thinks he's a girl", the father replies: "Thank God! I was afraid he was gay." Her father really seems to be more open-minded altogether, as he's the first of their family who starts referring to Zoë with "girl" and female pronouns, gets used to her new name, and acknowledges her positive development as a young woman. He also steps in when Zoë's mother threatens to burn her dresses and deescalates the fight.
  • Oracular Urchin: Brianna plays with this, having a rather unusual look (most of her head shaved) and the reputation of being psychic, but really, she's just good in reading other people. She makes mysterious prophecies occasionally, but their veracity has yet to be proven.
  • Orphaned Punchline:
    "... so I stabbed him in the eye with a fork!"
  • Pen Name: The author uses one of these; members of the Hate Dom have semi-recently tried to "out" her legal name on various wikis — including this one.
  • Queer Romance
  • Rape as Drama: Zoë was raped in seventh grade by an older student when she first tried on a dress she had created for the play she was working on. This was before she was living as a girl and was the first time anyone outside of her family saw the real her.
  • Really Gets Around: Lisa is a rare lesbian example of this trope, and is somewhat infamous for it.
  • School Play: Romeo and Juliet, to be exact. Zoë has very good reasons to object to being cast as Juliet, as it turns out.
  • Serious Business: A small time high school production of Romeo and Juliet: SRS BSNS. So serious that apparently Nina is willing to kill whoever it takes to land the lead
  • Shading/Colour Dissonance: Zoë has dark red hair that's shaded in a manner that makes it look blonde.
  • Shown Their Work: The artist is a trans woman and has a fairly first hand view of what a young Transgender teen goes through in the US. Taken to horrifying extremes during a Filler Strip when the artist relays the time she was sexually assaulted at college.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Lisa finds Chris a bit hotter than she would like to.
  • Teen Drama
  • The Atoner: Eric.
  • Therapy Backfire: Zoë's mother tries to find therapists who convince Zoë that she is indeed male. The therapists instead agree that Zoë has GID, and a couple recommend therapy for her mother.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted and played straight — Zoë's new town doesn't have a specialist in her type of therapy, but her old therapist does come to visit. In addition, it's shown early in the comic that Zoë's parents kept taking her to different therapists trying to find one that wouldn't suggest Zoë visit a specialist in Gender Dysphoria (aka Transgenderism). One even suggested they get therapy to try and get over their problem with this.
  • Trans Relationship Troubles: Zoë deals with this early on. While on a date with Lisa, the latter accidentally finds out that Zoë is transgender and freaks out. She gets upset and accuses Zoë of being a crossdresser trying to date a lesbian.
  • Trans Tribulations: In the beginning played for laughs, but ever since Zoë became a real character with a name and story, her (and Larson's) troubles are presented in a realistic light and thus not always comedy.
  • Tsundere: Lisa, Larson
  • Two Scenes, One Dialogue: Zoë talks to Lisa, her mother to her father about their deteriorated relationship, both of them choosing pretty much the same words about the other's unwillingness to understand or compromise.
  • Unmoving Plaid
  • Unsettling Gender-Reveal: Happens to Lisa twice. She reacts very poorly.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The science teacher, Mr. Cluck, is a chicken. Lampshaded by Larson in one comic.
  • Wanted a Gender-Conforming Child: Zoë's mother is in deep denial about her, still insisting on calling her "Alex" and referring to her as he and her son. She genuinely thinks that the self expression as female is just "Alex"'s way of overplaying insecurities and that "he" would be happier if just accepting "himself" and building a confidence on that, but her behavior occasionally lapses into emotional abuse, such as when she makes Zoë wear masculine dressing against her will, forces her to present as male when they go to church, or takes away her hormone pills.
  • Webcomic Time: The comic's been running for over 12 years, and only a few months have passed in-story.
  • Wham Episode: The 3/4/10 page. Wow.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Brianna chews Lisa out for her shitty behavior towards Zoë after their date.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Chris is a happy, healthy, emotionally balanced young cisgender man who just happens to enjoy occasionally living out a side of his personality by wearing women's clothes.
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Zoë's parents' (particularly her mother's) reaction to her being transgender. Even when it is repeatedly diagnosed by independent therapists and she is repeatedly referred to a specialist for treatment, they continue to try and find a therapist who will tell them that Zoë's insane and that they will cure her for them. In the end, at least one therapist suggested they get therapy to help them deal with their reaction while Zoë was in therapy.
    • Zoë's mother continues to play this trope straight — outright blackmailing Zoë into going to church as Alex and generally not being supportive in the least. Amusingly, the people at the out of town church they go to mistake Zoë for a lesbian, not for a boy — and are more supportive than Zoë's mother (one tries to hook Zoë up with her niece), to boot!