Saturday, February 3, 2018

Was April O'Neil Originally Black in the Mirage Comics? (Spoiler: No, she Wasn't)


There has been a long-standing misconception within the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle community, and especially those outside of it, that April O'Neil was originally introduced in the Mirage comics as a black woman and then later "white-washed" into a Caucasian by subsequent media (including the Mirage comic, apparently).  If you don't feel like reading the whole article, I'll save you some time and give you the answer now: April was white in her first appearance.  If you're interested in finding out where this misconception originated from, then by all means, read on.

I suppose that I'm obligated to provide a disclaimer before we continue.  The purpose of this article isn't to determine if "April has ever been black" (she has been at certain points throughout the franchise) or if "April should be black" (because what kind of a question is that?).  The purpose of this article is very specific: To answer whether April was ORIGINALLY black in the Mirage comics.  So please, put down those goal posts.  I see you, over there.

April O'Neil was introduced in TMNT (Vol. 1) #2, published in October of 1984.  Here is how she was drawn by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird in that first appearance, including panels where she is next to Baxter Stockman, who most definitely is black:




And here she is in TMNT (Vol.1) #3:



Notice that she has straight hair and a fair complexion (that will come up later in this article).  If your argument is that she might still be black because this comic isn't in color, here is how she appeared on the cover of TMNT #2 in its third printing, art by Richard Corben:


If your argument is that Eastman and Laird had Corben color April white as synergy with the TMNT animated series produced by Fred Wolf (first aired December 28, 1987), the TMNT #2 third printing was released June 10, 1986 (no month in the indicia, but the News section in the back of the book cites June 10th, '86; as seen below).  And furthermore, here is Kevin Eastman's own account of when he and Laird were first approached by Mark Freedman to license the TMNT for toys and cartoons (as seen in his Comics Journal interview), which he cites as July, 1986.  This means that April being colored white for the TMNT #2 third printing cover predates even the mere idea of a TMNT animated series and its subsequent version of April:



If your argument is that the cover wasn't drawn by Eastman or Laird so her being white doesn't count, here is the colorized version of TMNT #2 as it appeared in the First Comics TMNT Vol. 1 trade paperback (1986):


If your argument is that the colors in that trade weren't provided by or overseen by Eastman or Laird, then here is the credits page:


If your argument is that Eastman and Laird meant to draw a black woman but drew a white woman by mistake, then meant to color a black woman but colored a white woman by mistake, then meant to ask Richard Corben to draw a black woman but accepted his drawing of a white woman by mistake… then I don't think this article is for you.

So now the question is, why do so many people think April was originally a black woman in the Mirage TMNT comics?  Where did that get started?

Well, two issues after making her debut appearance, April got a makeover in TMNT (Vol. 1) #4: 


April went to a New Wave hair salon and got herself a perm.  So from TMNT #4 through about TMNT #28, April sported this look:




Then in TMNT #28, she gave up on the perm and let her hair get straight again:


Those black and white panels of April with the '80s perm are usually what you see when someone endeavors to present "proof" that April was originally black in the Mirage comics.  Now, ignoring that it's a look she acquired artificially through a deliberately spelled out plot point, so the curly hair is not natural, it also ignores the fact that all of those issues of her with the perm came after her first two appearances.  So that's hardly "how she originally looked".

And furthermore, for those who aren't that well acquainted with the trends of the '80s: Big, permed, curly hairdos were fashionable across all ethnic fields at the time, both black and white.



It was a style popular among many white women in the '80s and April was staying trendy (she even mentioned that she went to a New Wave salon).  When the big hair trend faded away toward the end of the '80s, April lost the perm and went back to having either straight or slightly bouncy hair (TMNT #61 below).


Admittedly, if one were to just look at some of the panels she appeared in with the perm, having not read any of the previous issues and with no other context than "Look, April's a black woman!" then yes, I can understand coming away with the impression that April was black.  Because in addition to the perm, she also infrequently sported a tan, as seen in Tales of the TMNT (Vol. 1) #7:


But having access to a curling iron and a tanning bed does not make you a black person.  Then again, there was that one time in the Mirage comics where April WAS black.  For real.  TMNT (Vol. 1) #32 was part of the "guest era" of the series, a span of the comic where freelance indie creators were invited to contribute issues of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that did not rely on continuity.  Many of these stories were goofy, surreal comedies, others were wholesale reboots of the origin story, and some did endeavor to follow the continuity of the canon Mirage series.

TMNT #32 by Mark Bode' was not one of those issues that tried to follow canon.  Instead, it was a surreal comedy that deviated from continuity in most aspects: The sewer lair was in Northampton instead of New York City.  April was a news reporter like her cartoon counterpart (an occupation her Mirage incarnation never had in-canon).  And April was also black:


Albeit, that was in the 2nd printing of the issue, with colors by Bill Fitts.  Here is what she looked like in the 1st printing, which was released in black and white:
 

And for the record, when the issue was recolored for IDW's TMNT Classics Vol. 4 trade paperback (colors by Digikore Design Limited), April looked like this:


But the point is, in at least ONE of the three versions of TMNT #32, April was black.  Or, then again, that could be a really, really nice tan, so who's to say?  But nobody thought much of it, because this was a guest issue from a freelancer that did not follow the continuity of the main series and was considered non-canon.  Still, that hasn't stopped select panels from this issue from being passed around as "proof" that April was black in the Mirage series.  I mean, she WAS, yes, but only in this lone, non-canon, out-of-continuity guest issue.

But there is more to the origin of this misconception than just confusion over out-of-context visual samples.  In Kevin Eastman's 2002 retrospective book, TMNT: Artobiography, he spoke briefly about the origin of April as a character:


"Originally created as an Asian character in Pete's notes, but named after an African American woman I once knew, the character of April O'Neil was introduced in issue #2, and would have a bunch of different 'looks' throughout the TMNT history."

That single sentence, often misremembered, paraphrased and misquoted, has been part of the confusion, going from "April was named after an African American woman I knew" to "April was African American".  Incidentally, no one ever talks about how April was conceived by Peter Laird as an Asian character.  I wonder why?

Also, the woman Eastman was referring to is the late April Fisher, whom Eastman was also married to for a time.


Lending some credence to the idea that April's redesign in TMNT #4 was inspired by Fisher, Eastman does have a history of designing female characters in his comics in the likeness of his current spouse.  In the period in which he was married to actress Julie Strain, many of the women he designed (usually in conjunction with artist Simon Bisley) looked similar to her.  Below you can see Midnight from the TMNT miniseries Bodycount as well as Julie from Heavy Metal 2000 (incidentally, voiced by Strain in the film, and also incidentally, her love interest was designed to look like Eastman).





Currently, Eastman doesn't insert his wife Courtney into too much of his work that I can find.  He and Courtney appeared on the cover to the Capital City Comic Con edition of IDW's TMNT: 30th Anniversary Special (art by Paolo Pantelena), and Courtney provided the voice for April O'Neil in the 2016 TMNT short film "Pizza Friday" (though April was not redesigned to look like Courtney):




So it would certainly be na├»ve, or deliberately obtuse, to ignore the possibility that April's redesign in TMNT #4 was inspired by Fisher.  But the takeaway should also be that it was a redesign removed from April's first appearance; it was not her original look.  It was also a design that was only temporary and faded away when the big hair trend of the '80s ran its course.

As for Peter Laird's take on the subject, he had this to say in an August 6, 2009 edition of "Ask Peter" at his blog:


"...It depends on which co-creator of the TMNT you ask.  If you ask me, I always saw April O'Neil as white.  If you ask Kevin, I suspect he would say -- as he has in a number of interviews -- that she was of mixed race, much like his former girlfriend (then wife, then ex-wife) April."

That does lend some further confusion, as Eastman has said he named April after his then-wife and Laird suspects he saw April as either black or mixed, like his wife.  But that doesn't change the fact that Eastman drew April as white in her first appearances and colored her as white (or oversaw and approved the colors) in the First Comics trade paperback reprints.  If he personally saw her as black, that isn't something that made it onto the page in her earliest appearances.  And if it was the intention with her new look beginning with TMNT #4, it was an intention that didn't stick, as she lost those aesthetics 20 or so issues later.

The question has apparently been posed to Laird on several other "Ask Peter" Q&As.  Here's one from November 18, 2013:


"As the co-creator of the character of April O'Neil, and as someone who has always imagined her as white, and very likely of Irish/Scottish/English ancestry, I was not at all "unsettled" by the depictions of her as such in the various adaptations.  Kevin may have had a different view, and I can't speak for him, but that's the way I always saw her.  As for the coloring of her skin in the color reprints of the Mirage comics, Kevin always had a lot more input on that end of our business than I did, and in fact I'm pretty sure he did the colors on the initial such reprinting from First Comics, the one in the graphic novel form.  Make of that what you will."

So, at least from the mouth of Peter Laird, April being colored white in the First Comics graphic novel collections was a deliberate choice made by Kevin Eastman.

And here's an interesting one, a bit removed from this conversation about origins but worth noting, from April 23, 2013, inquiring about a story from Turtle Soup #4 (December, 1991).  The story is "Raphael: Snapper" by Rick McCollum with colors by Peter Laird which depict April with a dark/tan skin tone:



"I believe that is the one I colored in Photoshop -- my first such experience with doing that.  I've never envisioned April as black, so if she looked like that to you in that story, it might be because of the way the artist drew her, or some failure in my part in the coloring, or just something about the way you perceive it, or some combination of the above.  It was certainly not my intention to color her in a way as to make anyone think she was black."

Further creator commentary on April's origin can be found in IDW's TMNT Ultimate Collection Vol. 1, in the annotations of issue #2:


Laird says, "Apparently, at the time these sketches were done, two important things had not yet been decided upon, Baxter Stockman's race and April O'Neil's name."

Evidently, there was no confusion as to April's race when the comic went into production, with Kevin apparently having settled the issue of her name (as previously brought up).  Interestingly, it wasn't April who seemed to have a discrepancy regarding race, but rather it was Baxter Stockman.  Scroll up to the photo from Eastman's Artobiography and you can see thumbnails from issue #2, where Baxter is clearly a white guy.  By the time the final art for issue #2 was produced, Baxter was made a black man.  Would anyone argue that Baxter was "originally white" because of those thumbnails, when the actual final, published issue made him black?  I've never heard anyone suggest so.

Regarding those sketches Laird was referring to in the quote, here are his early designs for April (then referred to as "assistant") and Baxter.  You can see that he had multiple ethnic options in mind for Baxter, though April's design was more or less settled on from the getgo (and thanks to the Anonymous poster in the comments section for sharing these with me!).



And you know what?  All this talk about April's race in the Mirage comics is kind of moot, anyway, as Laird revealed in TMNT (Vol. 4) #22 that she was never human to begin with.  Mirage April is, in fact, a drawing brought to life by a magic crystal.


I don't think there's anything more to say.  This misconception has been floating around for years, though it seems to have kicked into overdrive with the reveal of the upcoming Rise of the TMNT animated series from Nickelodeon, in which April will be black.


Some folks are questioning the change in her ethnicity which has elicited the counter argument that "April was originally black in the Mirage comics", followed by panels from TMNT #4, the cover to TMNT #11 or pages from TMNT #32.  Oddly, never TMNT #2, her first appearance.  If you're of the opinion that April being black is fine, or that her race doesn't matter, or that her glasses look stupid, then that's A-OK.  I'm not here to argue with you.  The purpose of this article was to correct a misconception that's been spiraling out of control recently.

To summarize: April was conceived by Peter Laird as an Asian woman in the early concept stages, but ultimately developed as a white woman in her first appearance.  She was named by Kevin Eastman after his then-girlfriend (and future-ex-wife), who was of mixed heritage, but if he had any ideas of April being black or mixed, he never implemented them on the page beyond a perm which she only had for a couple of years.  April has been black in occasional comics and cartoons over the years, and for all we know, someday she may be Asian, Hispanic or Indian.  But she was originally white in the Mirage comics.



34 comments:

Killer Moth said...

A long overdue article, handled well with your usual deft research skills and grace. I didn't even know about "April as Asian", which is pretty fascinating in itself.

I suppose the only thing of meaning I could ask is whether Mark Bode was ever asked about Vol. 1 #32 April. That and to say April's perm proved to be far more interesting (or controversial) than it was meant to be. Funny how that works.

"If "April should be black" (because what kind of a question is that?)."

In Current Year, that's a burning question. Or is it a loaded question? Whichever, it can be both.

As for Rise April's design, I'll opine about that, another time, but one comment over at the The Outhousers was pretty good, "April's a Green Lantern now?"

Anonymous said...

Well since you brought up the new design I'll ask

Does anyone else think this looks more like Angel than April?

Just from a visual short hand April is generally- light skin, red hair, wears yellow and has a bladed weapon.

Angel's visual short hand seems to be/is becoming- darker skin, purple hair, purple and black clothing and blunt weapons (at least as far as IDW is concerned).

It just seems odd to me than they changed a character with a fairly consistent look for 30 years and made her look like someone that already exists and could use more stories. Then again I felt the same way when IDW's Hasbro books made Matt Tracker black instead of just making Hondo the main character.

Anonymous said...

Really good article. I appreciate all the work you put into it toake clear something foggied by history.

Will Rigby said...

Facts and evidence. Something a lot more people on the internet could stand to use.

Dermot Mac Flannchaidh said...

To be honest, as a Mirage reader myself, I always thought of April's early appearance as "in flux," like she was open to interpretation. It's not so much that she was originally black, as that she could easily have been black. Her ethnicity may have been variously portrayed by appearance (mostly of apparent European ancestry), but her fundamental character template seems to have been more of a visual blank slate that could be portrayed...lots of different ways, just like Hermione Granger who has also had both African-looking and European-looking official portrayals.

To be honest, I've thought for years that the ideal actress to play Mirage era April would have been Gina Torres. She's older now, but she could still play a middle-aged mom April like from volume 4. IDW TMNT artist Sophie Campbell has also designed an interesting mixed ancestry April in her unofficial Secrets of the Ooze webcomic. Perhaps people design these concepts of April not because "she must be black," but because they've imagined an individual concept they like and they go with that. Note also that, apparently for the first time, two of the 2018 series turtles will have black voice actors.

Really, I think that, rather than coming up with arguments for April as one ethnicity or another, we should just let her design be whomever she'll be. Irish April, Latina April, black April, Asian April, Utrom April (the 2012 series version is part-Utrom), turtle April ("April" alludes to the Greek goddess Aphrodite, and Venus was her Roman goddess equivalent), and maybe even someday a male version named Averill O'Neil or something. This kind of variation is to be expected and really should be a non-issue. April is April, no matter how she looks or sounds.

And weird 1960s old lady butterfly glasses aside, 2018 series April is actually the character design from that series (revealed so far) that I like most. Have you seen Splinter? He looks like a grey melon to which ears and a two-dimensional flat face have been attached.

Killer Moth said...

After a re-viewing of the Rise April design, I keep thinking "if Irma was black." I doubt that was intentional of whoever designed her, but those glasses.... I like the 1st Anon's Angel tangent, as that's also possible via composite designs (e.g., more recent versions of Slash taking on Tokka's various physical traits).

"It just seems odd to me than they changed a character with a fairly consistent look for 30 years and made her look like someone that already exists and could use more stories. Then again I felt the same way when IDW's Hasbro books made Matt Tracker black instead of just making Hondo the main character."

Likewise. What is interesting about that, if you trust the TF Wiki, it was Hasbro itself that wanted that change, not IDW. Meanwhile on G.I. Joe, Aubrey Sitterson changed Salvo, as he regarded the original design as too Alt-Right-looking for his tastes (or said as much on Twitter), so it can cut both ways. Whether the Salvo change proved to be successful or not, that's above my pay grade.

Lastly, I agree with Dermot about Rise or 2018 Splinter. What the hell is that?

Morris Beauregard said...

What baffles me is that they would opt to change an established character for "diversity" rather than just use Angel, who already is black. They made Raph the leader, why not introduce Angel before April? Angel needs more exposure anyways.

Anonymous said...

Because Angel only appeared in like 3-4 episodes of the 2k3 series and she was a relatively obscure character in the least viewed TMNT cartoon by the general population. The IDW version of Angel is basically Tom Waltz taking a character and making her into a completely different character, basically the new Nobody. By that logic you can wonder why Nobody is female for the first time.

Race/gender changes in comics is a big thing now. As well as in the tv/movie adaptions of superhero characters.

I also imagine April is black in the new cartoon to differentiate her from Nick 2012 April. If you notice we have teenage April again where she's close to the Turtles age, but otherwise she'd just be too similar to 2012 April. Gotta do something different with her.

Chet said...

Everybody's talking about the change of April's race, but I haven't heard anyone on changing the Turtles' races, as they're all different species of turtles now. I think that's the second time they decided not to make the Turtles blood relatives (The Next Mutation was the first), but they've pretty much always been red sliders, even if not appearing as such in mutated form (new Leo does).

As for April's new design... She made me think of Irma. So, if April is this universe's nerdy/geeky girl, what will Irma be (if she's in this series)? I don't mind the change of skin color, I wouldn't even've cared if she didn't wear yellow for a change (which apparantely is a more important visual cue than skin or hair color), but by giving April a different personality, she becomes a different character all together - only bearing the same name. Remember when Michael Bay tried to pull that shit by turning Shredder into a middle-aged Caucasian business man in stead of a Japanse martial arts master?

I guess coming up with a cool new character doesn't sell as many toys as rebranding an established one. Pretty sad, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

But what was April’s “personality” in all her past incarnations. She’s always ended up pretty different each time.

Clayton Weaver said...

This was a very informative and interesting read. I wasn't aware the April Fisher had passed away and sadly Eastman's IMDB page doesn't even acknowledge his marriage to her, instead claiming Julie Strain as his first wife. It's a shame that a woman credited with being the inspiration of such an iconic character in comic book history is largely unknown to the world.

Guille said...

Great read. The new designs were a surprise, but i'm not very concerned about them. I just hope it's a good series, with great scripts and a fluid/solid 2D animation. Not really sold with the "mystical powers" thing, but if it's well done, then there's a possibility i will enjoy it. I know i'm not the main target of this show, so.
I remember not being a fan of the NICK turtles when they were revealed, but then seeing the show, they just grew on me. Unfortunately, season 4 overall and delays made me less fond of it. We'll see what the future holds...

PS: Nice reminder of the article retrospective on the guest era, didn't remember reading it, much less commenting on it!

Anonymous said...

Here's a few pictures you my want to add. Here are the two early sketches mentioned.
https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/tmnt/images/4/4c/TMNT2charsketchessm.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20140517220956
https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/tmnt/images/1/1b/TMNT2charsketches2sm.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20140517221143
And here's Kevin with Fisher.
http://i68.tinypic.com/j79qub.jpg

Dom Clark said...

ManMI have heardhoeople say "sheslooks black" when looking at the old Mirage books. It always surprises me when the Internet whips up a storm over nothing. I guess at least people areakotnup in arms that she IS black in the new csrtoon. Thats an improvement on the norm! WasWnot aware designs were out so checked those out. Quite a departure from the norm. Like any new tmnt product I refuse to makemstrongmstatme ts and see how it turns out. With the turtles it can go either way. I will say they have a tough job to surpass the one that just finished.

Mark Pellegrini said...

@Anon from 2/5

Thanks for sharing those pics with me; I'd never seen them before! Went in and added them to the article.

Cyberwulf said...

God I know. Rise!April is the only character who doesn't look deformed.

Cyberwulf said...

I'm so conflicted about Rise. The turtles and Splinter look ugly as heck. But otoh I'm longing to see artist!Mikey. "I'm the biggest and strongest so we do as I say" Raph vs ccocky-yet-infuriatingly-talented Leo will be an interesting change to the team dynamic and less wearing than two moody assholes clashing.

Anonymous said...

The art style of the Turtles will probably look less odd when you see them in motion with the same animated style backgrounds and so forth.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely fantastic article. I agree with all of it. Well said. I hate that black April is being shoehorned in... sucks.

A C said...

I'd be interested to know how Eastman and

A C said...

I'd be interested to know how Eastman and Laird feel about such a radical redesign of their characters, the Turtles.

Anonymous said...

This is some very insightful information! Honestly, the fan designs I've seen for April being black are a lot better than the official design.

More to the point, in light of this information, the new version of April just looks like another case of forced diversity and blackwashing (why else is Marvel's sales tanking?). A lot of the descriptions of the characters in general make me think the creators spent way too much time reading Tumblr headcanons. What are they going to do next, make the Shredder and Karai black? I would've honestly liked to have seen them keep April the way she's always been or pay homage to the original idea and have her be of Asian decent.

Anyway, great article to shed light on a common misunderstanding of April!

Anonymous said...

So I've heard this a few times since the pictures of April came out

There's nothing wrong with making April Black
Turtles needs more diversity
It's a new world deal with it
ect

And I've found myself going- I thought Ninja Turtles already was diverse, Sure April and Casey are the main humans and they're Caucasian but beyond them...

I can't name one other long running America franchise that has this many Asian characters. Yoshi, Shredder, Karai, Tatsu, Shinigami, Tigerclaw, Oyuki (archie), Sheng(also archie), Tang Shen, and the Ninja Tribunal (and that's just off the top of my head). If we're going by culture off and on I've considered the turtles first generation Japanese Americans.

Of course if you define 'diverse' as just black well it has Baxter, Angle, Carter, Bebop, Cho Ocho (sp?), Faraji , Andre (Next Mutation), and Kenya Leavitt (archie). Most of whom never get any use because only two are big names.

Granted I can't name many Central/South American characters other than Xever, Jagwar and basically every new character from the forth film.

Maybe the reason there isn't a lot of centralized 'diversity' because there's a ton of actual diversity. Every iteration of ninja turtles has human characters from all over the map taking of various roles of importance. Maybe if more than the big two saw some use the general audience would see it the same way.

Furthermore isn't the point of using animal characters that the viewer can project themselves onto them? Sure a 'real life' person might appeal more to that real world demographic but anyone can see themselves in a gator man or fox woman.

I don't know maybe I'm over thinking this.

Anonymous said...

My thought is what's gonna happen in the show after the new one if/when they make April white again? If the coming show does well, that is.

If their only selling point is April being black, then they're not even trying. I don't know, maybe later in the show they'll have it established that Leo will be leader and maybe April will have personality outside of her skin color. First Annie, then Jimmy Olsen, then Mary Jane Watson, and now April. Is it now a trend to blackwash white, redheaded characters? And I agree with the person above; in this day and age 'diversity' just means 'black only'. And people don't see the diversity that was already in the franchise because apparently Asian characters don't count as diverse.

I'm sorry for ranting. I just get tired of the creators catering to people who (for the most part) don't even watch/read TMNT and just want to rack up progressive points.

Adam Winters said...

"Currently, Eastman doesn't insert his wife Courtney into too much of his work outside of self-aware gags"

Don't forget that she was credited with voicing April O'Neil in the SDCC TMNT short "Pizza Friday"!

Mark Pellegrini said...

@Adam,

Oh yeah, I forgot she played April in that! April wasn't drawn to look like her, but it's worth noting. Thanks!

Also found some more Ask Peter quotes which were worth adding to the article for more first-hand sources.

Cyberwulf said...

Why exactly do you hate it?

Cyberwulf said...

Probably the same way they felt about all the other redesigns.

Cyberwulf said...

You're annoyed that she's black when the last April was a part alien teen with magic mind-powers?

Anonymous said...

All whites owe slavery reparations. Let's repeat this to ourselves 5 times:

All whites owe slavery reparations
All whites owe slavery reparations
All whites owe slavery reparations
All whites owe slavery reparations
All whites owe slavery reparations

Anonymous said...

"the TMNT #2 third printing was released between January and May, 1986 (no month in the indicia, but the News section in the back of the book cites May '86 dates as upcoming; as seen below)."
The image you posted is clearly from the back of issue 7. Plus it mentions the third printing shipping June, 1986.

Mark Pellegrini said...

@Anon (2/18/2018)

The same Mirage News page was published in TMNT #7 and TMNT #2 3rd printing. Crack open your copy of the TMNT #2 3rd printing and see for yourself. Though you're right, the news section does say June 10th as the release date for the 3rd printing. That still puts it before July 86, so it confirms my point, but I will update the details.

Anonymous said...

Lol black ppl don't read/watch TMNT okay playa

ZeroXcuses said...

Been following your blog since about 2013 when I decided that I would try to put together the entire Mirage series (and that one "non-canon" Image run).

I feel like you did a review concerning the issues when April had a perm that hinted at one of the author's S/Os being ethnic...sort of like the idea that Stockman was changed to a white dude for marketing on the TV show (and is now back to being black again).

That doesn't matter though. This piece is the end-all-be-all to the "April was originally black" assumption. Thanks for clearing things up.

Thanks for clearing things up.