The year 1987 brought us our second ever incarnation of April, one that, while visually faithful to the character as originally depicted, was at odds with what had become the norm. As the new franchise’s popularity continued to expand, two more new incarnations were introduced: April as seen in the films, who like most things in the movie was conceived as an amalgam of her comic book and cartoon incarnations; and April as seen in the Archie comic books, who was ostensibly the cartoon version, but like most things in the book quickly became her own distinct character. While the people over at Mirage were still depicting their version of the character as a Woman of Color, by 1990, it was White April who had become the norm.
Note the first: While I’ve tried to be comprehensive as possible here, I have not been able to obtain several relevant images, most notably, images of film adaptations after the first one, and of the colored reprints of the Mirage books released during this time period. Any assistance in obtaining them is appreciated.
Note the second: Unlike the first time around, I will be allowing comments here. That said, as always, please keep common courtesy in mind, and note that I will moderate with a heavy hand, should it become necessary.
ETA: I*just* realized that I hadn’t actually enabled comments. Fixed.
TMNT #13 (February 1988). Art by Michael Dooney.
TMNT #14 (May 1988). Art by Kevin Eastman.
Episode 2.01: “Return of the Shredder” (Oct. 1, 1988)
Tales of the TMNT #7 (April 1989). Art by Jim Lawson. While the toning used for April will rarely get as dark as it was when she first debuted her “perm”, there are exceptions. This is the most notable one.
And here’s another image from the same story, one showing April alongside Renet.
TMNT #22 (June 1989). Art by Mark Martin.
TMNT #24 (August 1989). Art by Rick Veitch.
Cover to TMNT #28 (February 1990). Art by Kevin Dooney. Note that I’m not sure this is actually meant to be April.
TMNT #28 (Feb. 1990). Art by Jim Lawson.
TMNT #28 (Feb. 1990). Art by Jim Lawson.
TMNT #29 (March 1990). Art by A.C. Farley.
TMNT The Collected Book Volume 1 (March 1990). Art by
Kevin Eastman A.C. Farley.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Released in March 1990). April played by Judith Hoag. Note the curls, clearly based on Mirage April’s post-issue #4 ‘do.
TMNT: The Movie Cover (August 1990). Art by Kevin Eastman. Given that at this point Judith Hoag had been cast as April for more than six months at this point, April’s coloring here is especially curious.
TMNT: The Movie (August 1990). Art by Jim Lawson over layouts by Kevin Eastman.
TMNT: The Movie (1990). Art by Jim Lawson over layouts by Kevin Eastman. Colors by Steve Lavigne. This version of the adaptation was published by Archie on the same month as Mirage’s black and white version, which is…odd. Despite her prominence in the film, April does not appear in this version’s cover, which speaks to the differing priorities of the two books.
Cover to TMNT #32 (August 1990). Art by Mark Bodé (ETA:) and Kevin Eastman.
TMNT #32 (August 1990). Art by Mark Bodé.
TMNT Adventures #14 (September 1990). Art by Donald Simpson. This issue is notable not only because it features the greatest deviation from the cartoon aesthetics to date, but also because it’s the first original story in the Archie books to feature April in a prominent role.
TMNT Adventures #18 (March 1991). Art by Ken Mitchroney.
TMNT II: The Secret of the Ooze (released on March 1991). April played by Paige Turco. More influenced by the cartoon than the original was, this film largely does away with April’s curls.
TMNT Adventures #19 (April 1991). Art by Garrett Ho. While the Archie series never really cared to replicate April’s jumpsuit from the cartoon, the outfits she had worn so far in the series at least hearkened to it. No more.
TMNT #22 (July 1991). Art by Gene Colan. April is now settling into what will become her defined “Archie” look. Also important: while April has used swords in earlier issues, this is the first issue in which she carries her own.
TMNT #38 (July 1991). Art by Rich Hedden & Tom McWeeney.
TMNT Adventures #23 (August 1991). Art by Chris Allan, who will eventually become the book’s regular artist, and whose art would give the series much of its identity. Image obtained from TMNT Entity.
TMNT Adventures #24 (September 1991). Art by Chris Allan. One of the many notable things about the Archie comics was their willingness to let April go solo, either in back-up stories, which appeared with some frequency, and twice in her own mini-series. This is one of the former. Image obtained from TMNT Entity.
TMNT #42 (December 1991). Art by Rick McCollum and Bill Anderson.
Episode 5.20: “Michaelangelo, the Sacred Turtle” (Dec. 7, 1991). Although April’s look would remain consistent throughout most of the series, she would occasionally don a costume when the episode called for it, such as with this Egypt-themed episode.
TMNTA #27 Cover (Dec. 1991). Art by Ken Mitchroney.
TMNT Adventures #27 (Dec. 1991). Pencils by Ken Mitchroney. Everything about this seems to scream “story taken off the shelf to meet a deadline”, as little to none of the series’ evolution is apparent in this story.
TMNT Aventures #27 (December 1991). Art by Garrett Ho. Over in back-up land, however, things are as they were, which makes the transition somewhat jarring. Even with the artist change, April’s look remains consistent. Part of it is because it’s still the same story, but part of it is because she’s slowly solidifying into her platonic Archie self.