April O'Neil

April O'Neil (far right) on the first issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures in 1988

Publication information
Publisher Mirage Studios
First appearance Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #2 (Oct. 1984)
Created by Kevin Eastman

Peter Laird

In-story information
Full name April O'Neil
Team affiliations Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Notable aliases Miss O'Neil, Nobody

April O'Neil is a fictional character from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics and all related media. In all 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 strong-willed news reporter in the Turtles' first animated series, as a warrior in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures comic produced by Archie Comics, and various other personas in different TMNT media.

April was voiced by Renae Jacobs in the 1987 TMNT animated series. She has been portrayed in live-action media by Judith Hoag, Paige Turco and Megan Fox.[1] Her main love interest is Casey Jones.

Overview[edit | edit source]

April O'Neil is a young brown-haired Caucasian woman in her apparent mid-late twenties. She is a reporter for Channel 6 News based out of New York City, New York. While pursuing a story, April had the misfortune of running afoul of the Foot Clan, which ultimately brought her to the attention of a group of four mutant teenagers, who also happened to be Ninja Turtles. From that point forward, April became a close ally of the reptilian brothers and shared in many of their adventures.

Comics[edit]Edit[edit | edit source]

Mirage Comics[edit]Edit[edit | edit source]


In the original Mirage Comics storyline for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, April O'Neil 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 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 leaving her job with Baxter, April decided to open an antique shop. The shop was destroyed in a battle between The Shredder and the Foot Clan, and the Turtles. April had nightmares about the Foot Clan's attack as she and the Turtles retreated to a farm house in Northampton, Massachusetts.[2] [3]April's romantic interest in later issues, the vigilante Casey JonesDuring 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, Baxter. It wasn't revealed until Volume 4 that during the attack, April was injected by nanobots. 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 and kill her.

The attack rendered April sterile. To deal with the emotional strain 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. She was drawn by her father before his own biological daughter Robyn O'Neil was born. Although Kirby drew with pencil that would vanish after a while, 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; she 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.

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 subsequent incarnations of April are redheads. In the September, 1985 re-printing of issue one, artist Ryan Brown depicts April as a katana wielding ninja warrior in his back cover pin-up.

Reception[edit]Edit[edit | edit source]

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

Archie Comics[edit]Edit[edit | edit source]

In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures series produced by Archie Comics, April began as a carbon copy of her animated counterpart from the 1987 TV series, but the writers developed her into a competent warrior after training with Splinter. Because of her frequent adventures with the Turtles, she lost her job at Channel 6 and became a freelance reporter. In the winter 1994 Archie Special, April was mutated into a turtle herself. This made her the first official female turtle introduced to the series, three years before Venus de Milo's debut.

Archie also published two sets of three-part April O'Neil mini-series.

Dreamwave Productions[edit]Edit[edit | edit source]

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 an interest in journalism.

Animated television[edit]Edit[edit | edit source]

1987-1996 series[edit]Edit[edit | edit source]

Storyline[edit]Edit[edit | edit source]

Character background

April O'Neil was introduced as a television reporter for Channel 6 News. She had a strong nature and passion for her work, frequently expressing disagreement with her employer Burne Thompson's assignments. 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. 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 Turtle-related mishaps.[3]

Meeting the turtles

April was reporting on a series of high-tech equipment thefts 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. 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 help find the true culprits if she kept quiet about the Turtles' existence. April quickly became their major link to the outside world since their unusual appearance effectively precluded them from functioning above ground without some sort of disguise.[3]


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 Burne Thompson's opinion 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 were not criminals. By the episode "Doomquest," she finally succeeded in this by publicly exposing Lord Dregg's plans to take over the Earth via propaganda campaigns. April was frequently kidnapped by Shredder and used as bait in order to lure the Turtles out of hiding and destroy them.[3]

April revealed her age in the Season 3 episode "Leather Head - Terror of The Swamp". In Florida on vacation, she and the Turtles found a body of water contaminated with a mutagen that made mutants feel youthful, while physically de-aging humans into four-year-old versions of themselves. Donatello did not allow April to enter the water, to which she lamented, "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", was a detective.[3]


April was normally portrayed as a capable and independent woman. Her most important contribution to the Turtles was her access to research via the Channel 6 computers; using this information she could alert the Turtles to trouble and possible case leads. Her blue news van 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. By the ninth season, April worked freelance for reasons never specified, and 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]Edit[edit | edit source]

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 auditioned for the role in Los Angeles in 1986. She developed her initial personification of O'Neil while preparing for 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. —Renae Jacobs, Interview by TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles.comHer first day on set Stu 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]Edit[edit | edit source]

Voiced by Veronica Taylor, April got a costume change for the new incarnation of the animated series produced by 4Kids Entertainment. However, 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 made much more use of her scientific expertise and she often used her computer skills to aid the Turtles. She developed a closer relationship to Donatello, who shared many of her interests. In Season 7 she sometimes helped Donatello to collect Splinter's data bits. April developed a modest knowledge of combat skills after training with Splinter and was also a strong boxer. Her quick thinking was often instrumental to the Turtles' survival.

April was attracted to Casey Jones, though their contrasting personalities often made them bicker. By the third season, the two seemed to have a serious romantic relationship. In the seventh season episode "Wedding Bells and Bytes" she and Casey got married.

2012 series[edit]Edit[edit | edit source]

April O'Neil is voiced by Mae Whitman in the 2012 animated series. The tomboyish daughter and only child of scientist Dr. Kirby O'Neil, April is 16 years old, younger than most other versions of the character. She likes to play video games and eat pizza.[5] She is very gentle with animals, as shown in the episode "Monkey Brains." April lives with her aunt in the city and wants to be reunited with her father, who was captured by the Kraang. In "TCRI", it is revealed that the Kraang are after April as well. April befriends the Ninja Turtles after the Kraang kidnap her father, andDonatello develops a crush on her.

In "Monkey Brains," Splinter discerns that April has a natural spiritual sensitivity and offers to train her to be a kunoichi (a female ninja) so she may learn to harness her ability and defend herself. In "Baxter's Gambit", Splinter gives April a steel fan that was originally meant for his own daughter before the Shredder killed her. In "The Kraang Conspiracy", April's telepathic powers are revealed to be a by-product of her genetics: she is in fact a half-human/half-Kraang hybrid. In "The Lonely Mutation of Baxter Stockman" she is immune to the mutagen.

During the second season, April has a falling out with the Turtles after a scuffle with the Kraang results in the accidental mutation of her father. She begins to tutor Casey Jones in trigonometry so he can stay on the hockey team. Casey takes to April immediately and calls her "Red". After the pair is saved by the Turtles twice, April decides to forgive the turtles and repair her friendship with them.

Motion pictures[edit]Edit[edit | edit source]

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990 film)[edit]Edit[edit | edit source]

In the first live-action TMNT film, April (played by Judith Hoag) was a television reporter working for Channel 3 news under Charles "Chuck" Pennington, doing an investigative series on mysterious thefts in New York City whose culprits vanished without a trace.

One night while leaving work, she was accosted by teenage thieves in league with the Foot Clan, but the Turtles appeared and saved her under the cover of darkness. In the aftermath April discovered and grabbed Raphael's lost sai; Raphael soon followed her to retrieve the weapon and saved her again when she was attacked by a group of Foot Ninja in the Subway. During the attack April was knocked unconscious while trying to fight them off with her purse. Unsure what to do with her, he carried her to the Turtles' sewer lair. Though afraid at first, she eventually came to regard the Turtles and Splinter as friends, even letting them stay in her apartment after the Foot Clan discovered and destroyed their sewer dwellings.

Mirroring the Mirage Studios storyline, April was fired from her news job and the Foot once again attacked the Turtles in the antique shop, prompting April, the Turtles, 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. She grew extremely close to the four brothers: Michelangelo, 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. During their respite, April also developed a kind of love-hate relationship with Casey Jones. By the end of the film, she accepts her attraction to him and in the aftermath of Shredder's defeat as well as getting her job back (she had been fired earlier in the film), April asks Casey for a kiss.

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

[4][5]Actress and singer Sherie Rene Scott, who played April in the 1990 musical tourApril made a live-action appearance in the TMNT: Coming Out of Their Shells musical tour. 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]Edit[edit | edit source]

In the second live-action 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, and helped them research the company responsible for the mutagen that transformed the Turtles into their present state.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993)[edit]Edit[edit | edit source]

In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, Paige Turco reprised her role as April O'Neil. April was temporarily transported to feudal Japan, forcing the Turtles to travel back in time to rescue her.[6][7]

TMNT (2007)[edit]Edit[edit | edit source]

April was voiced by Sarah Michelle Gellar in the 2007 CGI film. Following the continuity from the previous films, it appeared that she and Casey Jones were engaged in a relationship, living together and working for a shipping firm. She found Leonardo in Central America at the start of the film while seeking an artifact for Max Winters. No mention was made of her past as a journalist; instead, she now appeared to be involved in archaeology.

April took up martial arts training from Splinter, purchasing a suit of armor from Japan, and becoming skilled in the use of a katana. She demonstrated these skills in a fight with Karai. A collectible booklet packed in with her action figure for the film implied that she had become a master of the katana. The figure itself included a katana, tonfa, and two shoulder armor pads; this outfit was replicated for the film.

In the film's alternate ending, Casey proposes marriage to April and she accepts. This scene is absent from the final cut of the movie but can be found on the DVD.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014 film)[edit]Edit[edit | edit source]

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

Video games[edit]Edit[edit | edit source]

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 2003 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]Edit[edit | edit source]

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]Edit[edit | edit source]

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

External links[edit]Edit[edit | edit source]

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