April O'Neil

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April O'Neil
TMNT Adventures First Issue.PNG
April O'Neil (far right) on the first issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures in 1988
Publication information
PublisherMirage Studios
First appearanceTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #2 (Oct. 1984)
Created byKevin Eastman
Peter Laird
In-story information
Full nameApril O'Neil
Team affiliationsTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Notable aliasesMiss O'Neil
 
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April O'Neil
TMNT Adventures First Issue.PNG
April O'Neil (far right) on the first issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures in 1988
Publication information
PublisherMirage Studios
First appearanceTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #2 (Oct. 1984)
Created byKevin Eastman
Peter Laird
In-story information
Full nameApril O'Neil
Team affiliationsTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Notable aliasesMiss O'Neil

April O'Neil is a fictional character from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics and all related media. In many of the TMNT continuities, she is a good friend of the Turtles: Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo.

She made her first appearance in the Mirage Comics storyline in 1984 as a computer programmer. She was later portrayed as a news reporter in the Turtles' first animated series, as a warrior in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures comic produced by Archie Comics, and afterwards had various personas in different TMNT media.

April was first represented on film in the 1987 TMNT animated series as a strong-willed reporter voiced by Renae Jacobs. She has since been played by actresses such as Judith Hoag, Paige Turco and Megan Fox.[1] Her usual love interest is Casey Jones.

Comics[edit]

Mirage Comics storyline[edit]

Introduction

In the original Mirage Comics storyline for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, April O'Neil (who originally sported a jumpsuit) was a skilled computer programmer and assistant to villainous scientist Baxter Stockman. She helped program his Mouser robots, but after discovering Baxter was using them to burrow into bank vaults and steal, she fled his workshop. Robots chased her into the sewer, and she was promptly saved by three of the Turtles. The Turtles later successfully fended off a Mouser invasion after Baxter programmed the Mousers to attack them.

After leaving her job with Baxter, April decided to open an antique shop. The shop came under attack by The Shredder and the Foot Clan (who had come for the Turtles), and was destroyed in the ensuing battle. She had nightmares about the Foot Clan's attack as she and the Turtles retreated to a farm house in Northampton, Massachusetts.[2]

April's romantic interest in later episodes, the vigilante Casey Jones

During the mid-90s, April became romantically involved with violent vigilante Casey Jones, and the two of them eventually adopted a child named Shadow.

Injection crisis

In Volume 2 of the TMNT comics, April was attacked and injected by a huge robot controlled by the brain of her former boss. The attack was motivated by revenge for April's escape from capture; shortly thereafter, he placed his brain in the body of a robot, and sought out the Turtles to exact revenge upon April.

It wasn't revealed until Volume 4 that, during the attack, April was injected by nanobots, which nearly kill her. With the help of the Utroms, the Turtles injected April with turtle versions of nanobots to stop Baxter's versions. The intervention saved April before Baxter's nanobots could reach her brainstem. Despite this, April remained sterile.

The attack put an emotional strain on April. She became a female version of Nobody, a vigilante crime fighter, until her identity was discovered by Casey Jones.

Drawing twist

With the help of Renet, a Timestress who took April back through time, it was revealed that April was really a living drawing brought to life with the help of Kirby's crystal, drawn by her father, who at the time really wanted a daughter. This was before their own biological daughter Robyn O'Neil was born. Kirby drew with pencil that would vanish after a while however, April's father used a pen, which might explain why April lived past thirty without vanishing. Questions of realness and morality were too much for April who bid farewell to Shadow and Casey and traveled to Alaska to be alone with her thoughts. Although the trip helped April cope with her demons, and led to her eventual return to New York, her family history remained unexplored.

Reception[edit]

The narrative structure created by Mirage Studios ended when the company sold the copyrights to TMNT to Nickelodeon.

Fan reaction to April's origin was mixed, as many believed her normality served as a good contrast to the fantastic nature of the Turtles.[citation needed] To-date, no other incarnation of April has shared her origin.[when?]

Hair color

The Mirage Studios version of April has dark brown/black hair (though early color reprints of Volume 1 depicted her hair color as red/light brown). Most future incarnations of April that came afterwards are redheads.

Archie Comics version[edit]

April also appeared in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures comic produced by Archie Comics, which began as re-tellings of cartoon episodes, but were eventually spun off into original stories. In this series, she began as a carbon copy of her animated counterpart, but the writers developed her into a competent warrior after training with Splinter. Years earlier in the September, 1985 re-printing of issue one, Mirage Studios artist Ryan Brown depicts April as a katana wielding ninja warrior in his back cover pin-up. Because of her frequent adventures with the Turtles, she lost her job at Channel 6 and became a freelance reporter. Archie also published 2 sets of 3-part April O'Neil mini-series. In the winter 1994 Archie Special, April was mutated into a turtle herself. This made April become the first official female turtle introduced to the series, three years before Venus de Milo's debut.

Dreamwave Productions series[edit]

The second issue of the Dreamwave Productions series (based on the 2003 animated series) focused entirely on O'Neil, consisting of a dream sequence showing how she had been pressured into a scientific career by her family despite having interest in journalism, an obvious homage to the 1987 cartoon.

Animated television[edit]

1987-1996 series[edit]

Storyline[edit]

Character background

In the 1987 TMNT animated series, April O'Neil was a television reporter for Channel 6 News. She was employed by Burne Thompson and frequently expressed disagreement with his assignments due to her headstrong nature and passion for her work. She also fell out repeatedly with Vernon Fenwick, the director/camera operator whose enormous ego compelled him to scoop April on her stories whenever possible. April was best friends with Irma, the receptionist at Channel 6. Her Channel 6 News Van was a blue van that had classic headlights and the Channel 6 News logo on each side. April could usually be found wearing a distinctive yellow jumpsuit with white boots. She lived in an apartment in New York City, though during the course of the series, she was forced to relocate several times due to a variety of indirect Turtle-related mishaps.[3]

Meeting the turtles

In the 1987 series, April was reporting a series of thefts of high-tech scientific equipment, apparently by a ninja, when she came under attack by a gang of street punks. Thinking quickly, she managed to squeeze into a storm drain and ran from the mob until she hit a dead end. The Turtles were nearby and defeated the punks for her. She was taken back to their sewer lair, where they explained their origins to her. At first, she believed them to be responsible for the equipment thefts, but they agreed to provide her with the true culprits if she provided her assistance and didn't tell people about them. April quickly became the Turtles' major link to the outside world since their unusual appearance effectively precluded them from functioning above ground without some sort of disguise.[3]

Involvement

April's friendship with the Turtles resulted in the opportunity to film exclusive footage of their encounters with Shredder, but despite her intimate knowledge of the details of their lives, she tended to keep her professional news reports about them impersonal and mysterious. She was a vocal champion of their cause, despite the opinion of Burne Thompson that the Turtles were a menace to the city, and most episodes generally showed her attempting to convince Burne and the New Yorkers that the Turtles are not the criminals he is convinced they are; by the episode "Doomquest," she finally succeeds by exposing Lord Dregg's propaganda campaign and plans to take over the Earth to the public. April was frequently kidnapped by Shredder, quite often as bait in order to lure the Turtles out of hiding in order to unleash his latest attempt at destruction upon them.[3]

April revealed her age in the Season 3 episode, "Leather Head - Terror of The Swamp". While in Florida for vacation, the Turtles meet with her, and join forces with the Punk Frogs. They find a body of water contaminated with mutagen, which makes mutants feel youthful, while physically de-aging humans into 4 year old versions of themselves. Donatello does not allow April to enter the water, to which April laments, "Oh, great! I'm doomed to be a decrepit twenty-eight-year-old hag!"[3]

Her Aunt Agatha ("Aggie"), who appeared in the episodes ("Case of the Hot Kimono" and "Sleuth on the Loose"), is a detective.[3]

Portrayal

April was normally portrayed as a capable independent woman. Her most important contribution to the Turtles was her experience in doing research on the Channel 6 computers and alerting the Turtles to trouble and possible case leads. Following the destruction of the Channel 6 building in the eighth season April continued to work for Channel 6, but by the ninth season, April worked freelance for reasons never specified. During these three seasons, she exchanged her yellow jumpsuit for a brown leather jacket. She continued to help the Turtles, even after the defeat of Shredder and his subsequent exile to Dimension X.[3]

Voice actors[edit]

April was voiced by Renae Jacobs. There was also a two-part OVA series in Japan, in which April was voiced by Emi Shinohara. In the 25th Anniversary crossover movie, Turtles Forever, she was voiced by Rebecca Soler.

Jacobs tried for the role in Los Angeles in 1986 and directed through the audition by Stu Rosen. She developed her initial personification of O'Neil while preparing from the audition, having not read the comics."[4]

There was a very good character description of her, so I looked at that and I kind of built her based on me. I felt that she should be a very strong character with very good convictions, she should be a loyal friend; she should be serious about her work and she wanted to be taken seriously, not just looked at as another pretty face.

Her first day on set Rosen made it clear he didn't approve of her for the role, and had waited to show her audition last, saying to her, "Every one I played, the producers said ‘No, no, no, that’s not April,’ and finally I was out of people to show them, so I pulled your audition out and played it for them and they said ‘That’s April!’"[4]

2003 series[edit]

April got a costume change for the new incarnation of the animated series produced by 4Kids Entertainment, but her role was similar to that of the Mirage Studios character. Again, she served as an assistant to Baxter Stockman until his Mouser experiments got out of control, and after the Turtles saved her, she became a faithful friend, ally, and "big sister" to them. April makes much more use of her scientific expertise and she often uses her computer skills to aid the Turtles. This has also meant that she has developed a closer relationship to Donatello, who shares many of her interests.

In TMNT: Back to the Sewer she sometimes helps Don in collecting Splinter's data bits. April is also shown to have an attraction to Casey Jones, though their contrasting personalities often make them bicker. By the third season, the two are shown to be dating and seem to have a serious relationship. In "wedding bells and bytes" she and Casey get married. April also has developed a modest knowledge of combat skills after training with Splinter. She is also a strong boxer. Her quick thinking is often a key to the Turtles' survival. In the series TMNT: Back to the Sewers, her look is slightly changed to resemble the 2007 movie. She is voiced by Veronica Taylor.

2012 series[edit]

April O'Neil is voiced by Mae Whitman in this series. The tomboyish daughter and only child of scientist Dr. Kirby O'Neil. April is 16 years old, one year older than the Turtles, but younger than in most versions of the character. She likes to play video games and eat pizza.[5] She lives with her aunt in the city and wants to be re-united with her father, who was captured by the Kraang. She is very gentle with animals as shown in the episode "Monkey Brains." In "TCRI", it is revealed that the Kraang are after her as well.

In this series, April befriends the Ninja Turtles after the Kraang kidnapped her father. Donatello also has a crush on her. In "Monkey Brains," Splinter discerns that April naturally has a special spiritual sensitivity and offers to train her to be a kunoichi (a female ninja) so she may learn to harness this spiritual sensitivity and be able to look after herself if she gets into trouble. In "Baxter's Gambit", Splinter was trying to find a weapon for April, which resulted in her getting a steel fan that Splinter was originally going to give his daughter before the Shredder killed her.

As of the second season, April has begun to tutor Casey Jones in fear that if he fails trigonometry he will have to leave the hocky team. Immediately, Casey takes to April calling her "Red". During their first tutoring session, April is attacked by a mutated teenager and Casey helps her fight them off long enough for the turtles (whom April is avoiding) to arrive. April goes to watch Casey at the rink when attacked again. Instead of running like April had insisted, Casey decided it would be cool to fight the Kraang like a super hero. Once again April is saved by the turtles.

Motion pictures[edit]

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990 film)[edit]

In the first TMNT motion picture, April (played by Judith Hoag) was a television reporter (though she worked for Channel 3 news in this case) working for Charles "Chuck" Pennington, and did a series of stories on mysterious thefts in New York City whose culprits vanished without a trace.

One night when leaving work, she was accosted by teenage thieves in league with the Foot Clan, but the Turtles appeared and saved her by knocking out and tying up the teens under the cover of darkness. In the aftermath April discovered and grabbed Raphael's lost sai, but Raphael soon followed her and took back the weapon and saved her again when she was attacked by a group of Foot Ninja in the Subway and punched unconscious while trying to fight them off with her purse. Unsure what to do with her, he carried her unconscious to their sewer lair. Though her fearful reaction upon seeing the Turtles and Splinter initially got the better of her, she eventually came to regard the Turtles as friends, and even allowed them to live in her apartment after the Foot Clan discovered and destroyed their sewer dwellings. Pennington fired April for a while. Also, Casey Jones develops a romantic interest in her but at first she did not feel the same for him. By the end of the film, she realizes she loves him and then kisses him.

Mirroring the Mirage Studios storyline, the Foot once again attacked the Turtles in the antique shop, prompting April, the Turtles (including a wounded Raphael), and Casey Jones to retreat to her family's farmhouse in Northampton, Massachusetts. She kept a journal documenting their forced sabbatical in addition to drawing sketches of the Turtles. During their respite, April also developed a kind of love-hate relationship with Casey Jones. She grew extremely close to the four brothers as well; Michaelangelo, who initially confessed to having a crush on April, later addressed her as "Sis," indicating the role she had come to occupy in the Turtles' family.

TMNT: Coming Out of Their Shells (1990)[edit]

Actress and singer Sherie Rene Scott, who played April in the 1990 musical tour

April also made a live-action appearance in the TMNT: Coming Out of Their Shells musical tour, during which her role was to incite the live audience to interact with the stage performers and encourage the Turtles when needed. She was played by Sherie Rene Scott.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991)[edit]

In the second movie April was played by Paige Turco. She provided the Turtles and Splinter with a place to stay after the destruction of their lair in the previous film, subsequently helping them research the company that created the ooze that transformed the Turtles into their present state.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993)[edit]

In TMNT III, O'Neil is also played by Paige Turco of the previous movie. O'Neil was temporarily transported to feudal Japan, forcing the Turtles to travel back in time to rescue her.[6][7]

TMNT (2007)[edit]

April appears in the 2007 CGI film voiced by Sarah Michelle Gellar; following the continuity from the previous films, it appears that she and Casey Jones are living and working together in a shipping firm, engaged in a relationship. It is she who finds Leonardo in Central America at the start of the film, having been in the area seeking an artifact for Max Winters. No mention is made of her past as a journalist, but it is instead implied that she has taken up archaeology as a career.

She has taken up martial arts training from Splinter, purchasing a suit of armor from Japan and becoming skilled in the use of katana, apparently leaving behind her past as a 'damsel in distress'. This is demonstrated as O'Neil and Karai fight it out while Casey, Splinter and the turtles battle the Foot in order to save Leonardo. This appears to be corroborated in a collectible booklet packed in with her action figure for the film, which implies that she has become a master of the katana. The figure itself includes a katana, tonfa, and two shoulder armor pads; this outfit would be replicated for the film. It is also noted that in the beginning of the film, she wears something similar to Lara Croft's normal outfit.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014 film)[edit]

April will appear in the upcoming reboot Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with Megan Fox playing the role.[1]

Video games[edit]

April has appeared in most of the TMNT video games, usually as the damsel in distress who has been captured by Shredder.

In TMNT IV: Turtles in Time for SNES, she kicks the story off with a brief report where Krang steals the Statue of Liberty and appears onscreen in the SNES version to encourage the Turtles to fight when the player characters are idle.[8] She also appears as a playable character in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters for Sega Genesis, where her game character bears no resemblance to the 1987 cartoon likeness.[citation needed]

In Konami's series of TMNT games based on the 2003 animated series, April resembles her cartoon counterpart. Like in the new show, she is no longer a mere damsel-in-distress but often shows up in various cutscenes to give advice and advance the plot of the game. In TMNT: Mutant Melee, April is once again a playable character and participates in multi-player battles. April is a playable character in Ubisoft's TMNT: Smash-Up.

Action figures[edit]

In the TMNT toy lines produced by Playmates Toys, April O'Neil has appeared in several action figure incarnations.

The first of these had a limited production run, and lacked a blue stripe on her jumpsuit. It was replaced with a yellow-striped version with greater circulation.[citation needed]

An alternate version was released in 1990, with a head sculpt closer to her cartoon incarnation, orange boots, and further modification. Another variation was released in 1993 packaged exclusively with the Channel 6 Newsman vehicle. this April had the same sculpt of the '90 release although her jumpsuit is green and the boots yellow. At one stage, a 13" version was slated for production to accompany the other similar-sized figures, but was never produced.[citation needed]

Other notable April figures include the 1992 version, dubbed simply "April," with purple accents on her jumpsuit; "April, the Ravishing Reporter," which was the first such figure to feature rooted hair; "April, the Ninja Newscaster," who came with one of each of the Turtles' signature weapons; and "Mutatin' April," part of the Mutations assortment in which April could transform into a humanoid cat (inspired by the original series episode "The Cat Woman from Channel Six").[citation needed]

For the new[when?] TV series, Playmates introduced two O'Neil figures; a standard sized April with bonus Mouser robots and a miniature April. There was also an April figure based on her appearance in the CGI TMNT movie, wearing her yellow ninja outfit.

NECA is also stated to release an O'Neil figure based on her original Mirage Studios appearance.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Will Arnett Joining Megan Fox in 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' (Exclusive)
  2. ^ Eastman, Kevin and Peter Laird. IDW's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Color Classics #11. Jun 5, 2011, IDW.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "TMNT Community Site - April O'Neil Biography". TMNT Community Site. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Chatting with April O’Neil – An Interview With Renae Jacobs". TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles.com. April 9, 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-11. 
  5. ^ April's official profile
  6. ^ King, Susan (1991-03-30). "Paige Turco Moves From a Soap to Become the Ninja Turtles' Friend". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  7. ^ Wilmington, Michael (1993-03-22). "No Spark in Samurai-Style 'Ninja Turtles'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-03-04. 
  8. ^ Allgame review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time. URL retrieved 22nd July 2006.

External links[edit]