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Old 07-09-2014, 02:50 PM   #1
neatoman
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Black April



So wanna talk about it?

See every time I bring up the depictions of April O'Neil as a black woman on the internet someone always pops up snarling, insisting that she never has been depicted as a black woman outside of fanfics and when I give concrete evidence like this they make up some excuse like non-canonicity or that's it's just a colorised version and does not count or something else like.

Now I know these arguments usually come from rather unpleasant people and I'm not one of the people who claim she was always intended to be black (the details behind her creation are fuzzy) and thus she should always be depicted as black.
But I still find it a bit confusing why it would ever really be a big enough deal to either rage against or demand everything else to correct itself after it.

April O'Neil is a fictional character and nothing about her suggests that she'd have to belong to one racial group or another so what's the problem?
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Old 07-09-2014, 02:56 PM   #2
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I seem to recall that when Eastman and laird were first coming up with April, they toyed with the idea of making her black...either that, or they named her after a black friend(?)...or something else. I can't place it exactly, but I do know for certain that there is something in the past that connects April with a black woman, just for the life of me can't remember the details right now
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Old 07-09-2014, 02:59 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Punky Poo Pie Head View Post
I seem to recall that when Eastman and laird were first coming up with April, they toyed with the idea of making her black...either that, or they named her after a black friend(?)...or something else. I can't place it exactly, but I do know for certain that there is something in the past that connects April with a black woman, just for the life of me can't remember the details right now
I may be wrong, but I think Mirage April was based on the girlfriend Eastman had at the time. Or something like that.
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Old 07-09-2014, 03:09 PM   #4
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could be...but I just can't shake this thought about a black friend, or classmate, or something when they were first thinking her up....
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Old 07-09-2014, 03:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neatoman View Post
But I still find it a bit confusing why it would ever really be a big enough deal to either rage against or demand everything else to correct itself after it.

April O'Neil is a fictional character and nothing about her suggests that she'd have to belong to one racial group or another so what's the problem?
I dunno, "ruined childhoods" and threatened loss of fanboy lust if the April they know and love lust for is "changed" and no longer the "same person"?

Harmless imo. Hell, Baxter has been both black and white, right? Though I suppose few people are too emotionally attached to him to really care.
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Old 07-09-2014, 03:56 PM   #6
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The world isn't ready for a black April.
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Old 07-09-2014, 04:01 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by CyberCubed View Post
The world isn't ready for a black April.
And you know this how, exactly? If it were pulled off well, I wouldn't be opposed to it.
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Old 07-09-2014, 04:06 PM   #8
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After suffering through a white Eric Sachs Shredder, you really think we can handle a black April?
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Old 07-09-2014, 04:06 PM   #9
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Alright, found the reference I was thinking of...

In Eastman's "Artobiography" he says that April was concepted in Pete's notes as an Asian character and then named after a black woman that Kevin once knew. So I think that's about as black as she's going to officially get.

The idea of an Asian April, however, seems like it would've fit nicely with the whole Japan/martial arts angle. Though thinking about it, that may have been exactly why they opted not to go that route - perhaps it'd make the book even more "asianish" then they were looking for.
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Old 07-09-2014, 04:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CyberCubed View Post
After suffering through a white Eric Sachs Shredder, you really think we can handle a black April?
If we can handle Stockman being a white guy in the OT, we can deal with April returning back to being an African American.
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Old 07-09-2014, 04:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CyberCubed View Post
After suffering through a white Eric Sachs Shredder, you really think we can handle a black April?
Shredder being asian is part of his background, April's race isn't very important to her character.
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Old 07-09-2014, 04:25 PM   #12
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Designed to be Asian, named after a black woman, turned into a white woman... geeze, April, who will you be next. lol

Did the concept of Karai exist around the same time? Maybe someone thought it would have been "overkill" on supporting cast female characters if they're both Asian. Token white girl semi-main character for majority white America? Hm.
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Old 07-09-2014, 04:48 PM   #13
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What is that comic in the OP actually from, anyway?
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Old 07-09-2014, 04:55 PM   #14
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What is that comic in the OP actually from, anyway?
TMNT Vol. 1 issue #32
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Old 07-09-2014, 04:56 PM   #15
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As far as I know, that issue is the only one where April is colored dark skinned, and she is a reporter in the issue.

Edit. I might be completely wrong on the reporter part, as I've got a complete iron blanket on the story.

Last edited by Candy Kappa; 07-09-2014 at 05:06 PM.
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Old 07-09-2014, 05:18 PM   #16
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I think Eastman & Laird's memories of April's original ethnicity contradict each other. Eastman tried to work in elements of his then-girlfriend while Laird simply envisioned her as Irish Anglo heritage. Her appearance in issues 2-3 seems to support Laird's view while her makeover in issue 4 and following started to favor Eastman's vision. Issue #32 (from which the above scan was taken) was an Eastman/Bode collaboration, but it's also possible the full-color reprint made her skin tone appear a bit darker than intended; her complexion looks considerably lighter on the cover to the original B&W printing.

Ultimately, it was David Wise modeling the animated version after Fujiko Mine from Lupin III which has probably cemented her pop-culture icon status more than anything else.
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Old 07-09-2014, 05:21 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CyberCubed View Post
After suffering through a white Eric Sachs Shredder, you really think we can handle a black April?
TBH, Mirage April always came across as mixed to me with the way her hair was.
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Old 07-09-2014, 06:25 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Candy Kappa View Post
As far as I know, that issue is the only one where April is colored dark skinned, and she is a reporter in the issue.

Edit. I might be completely wrong on the reporter part, as I've got a complete iron blanket on the story.
April was also colored with dark skin in Tales of the TMNT #7, and she was a reporter in issue 33.
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Old 07-09-2014, 06:31 PM   #19
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Personally have no problems with it. In the grand scheme of things it changes only as much as you let it.
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Old 07-09-2014, 06:41 PM   #20
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Not sure why April's race is even a discussion topic. What does it matter what race she is? Sure it is confusing seeing her different looks in some of the comics but in the end does it really matter?

The only human character's in the TMNT universe whose race matters should be Shredder and Splinter (if Splinter was originally in human form and mutated into a rat, of course). Their Japanese roots play heavily in their backstories with their rivalries and especially with Shredder's connections to the Foot Clan etc.
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