The visual history of April O'Neil


I really can’t fault the TV series for turning April O’Neil into a redhead, especially since the comics were all over the place with her.


Is this even a real thing? Seriously? The Ninja turtle reporter maybe might could have been black in earlier versions and now she almost definitely isn’t? Aren’t there more important things to worry about like… oh… I don’t know… The fact that they turned Boomer into a Frackin’ CYLON SPY who sabotages the Galactica and sells out the Rag Tag Fleet!!! Pffft.

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I thought this was about a different April O’Neil.



I think that it comes back to the TMNT being originally a one-off parody of Frank Miller’s Ronin and Marvel’s New Mutants, with not a lot of thought being put into the characters even after their popularity exploded. (And, frankly, Peter Laird not being that great of an artist, at least at the time; at his best (at least what I’ve seen), he could have illustrated some of the lesser D&D manuals.)


April’s ethnicity was in superposition until the wave function collapsed.


It was the ooze…you thought only the turtles were mutant?


I don’t really think the “Aren’t there more important things to worry about…” argument really holds a hell of a lot of water these days. Compared to all the other colossal wastes of time and effort in our society, you’re here on an arts and culture blog griping about somebody caring about an arts and culture issue.

Gosh, maybe you don’t care about this issue because, unlike a lot of people who are already sick of never being represented in the media, it’s not a problem for you personally? If your priorities are so much straighter, go volunteer or something, don’t whine at us because you don’t give a damn about race issues, and definitely don’t sit here complaining about a different show!


I can’t tell if you are being facetious or not.

When the thing that causes outrage happened 27 years ago, this definitely falls into “Having solved all other problems…” territory.

Although, it could be telling that we’re talking about her appearance rather than that she started out as a computer programmer. And how dare a woman be made into a redhead, that’s just awful.

Her family name is O’Neil and she’s the super-frizzy type of redhead hair. I admit the skin tones are dark, but I mostly put that down to art style, though she could have had a darker skinned mother or something.

Baxter Stockman was /actually/ black, and the cartoons made him white.


They don’t have souls, you know.

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Based on the samples, the only arguments I can see are that she has curly hair (after getting a perm in issue #4, before which it was straight) and a darkish shade to her face (in a handful of cherry-picked panels when she’s in shadow). Meanwhile, Baxter Stockman consistently has a dark skin tone on pages where April doesn’t, and every one of her pre-cartoon cover appearances makes her white.

So I guess the answer to “WAS APRIL WHITEWASHED BY THE CARTOON?!?” is “no, definitely not.” Why are we talking about this again?

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If it makes you feel better, Stockman has been black in all of the more recent cartoon versions.

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