April O’Neil (and Mousers) Repaint

While most people know April O’Neil as the yellow jumpsuit-clad news reporter from the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, she actually started out as a jumpsuit-clad lab assistant for Baxter Stockman, in the original black-and-white TMNT comics from Mirage Studios. April helped Baxter create the Mouser robots, a series of small, vermin-hunting droids. Eventually, April caught on to Stockman’s scheme to use the Mousers for crime, and he dumped her into the muckiest sewers, and sent the mechanical menaces to murder her.

Photograph of TMNT: The Collected Book Volume 1, from my collection

When TMNT creators Kevin Eastman & Peter Laird licensed the first dozen issues of their comic to First Publishing as trade paperback collections, First also put the comics in color for the first time. It was in the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Book I” volume that we first saw what color April’s jumpsuit was — Blue!

Photograph of TMNT: Book I, from my collection

But, hold on! Book I contains reprints of TMNT issues 1-3, and the very first page of issue 3 shows April in a TURQUOISE jumpsuit!

Photograph of TMNT: Book I, from my collection

So when I got my hands on an extra April figure, I wanted to pay homage to these Mirage roots. I decided to go with a shade of blue that was somewhere between the two colors used, and justified it by figuring the darker blue was mostly seen in the sewers, and the turquoise was seen during sunrise when everything has a bit more of a golden hue anyways. And as we all learned in kindergarten, blue + yellow = green.

And then I covered her in shit as though she’s been running from Mousers in the sewers before getting rescued by the Turtles.

I feel like the green-lighted one is nuzzling April’s leg like a cat.

But I couldn’t just paint up April. I needed some sewer-dwelling Mousers to go with her. At the time I painted this up, the best Mouser toys were the ones that came with the 2003 TMNT series April figure, so I mucked a bunch of them up as well. I made sure to repaint the Mousers’ forehead lights in different colors, as though they were receiving different remote-control orders from Baxter.

Epilogue: Amusingly, a little while after I made this figure, IDW started reprinting the early TMNT comics in color under their COLOR CLASSICS line, and gave April’s comic jumpsuit a THIRD color option: A pale lavender color, almost like a puce. I think this color is pretty ugly and not something April would have ever worn in 1985 when this comic originally came out, but at least they kept this coloring consistent between the two issues.

Maybe some day I’ll make a bunch of multicolored Aprils that aren’t covered in sewer muck, to represent all of these different jumpsuits.

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