The minions from the Despicable Me movies are all the rage right now :) The fact that some of the best toys that are being released are the little minions aren't helping either because it's just fanning the flames. Daniel Picard sent me this great info-graphic from Collectibly which I just have to share. It's a "Who's Who of the Minions" and helps unravel the identities of the minions.
Minions are small, yellow, cylinder-shaped, genetically humanized kernels that have one or two eyes and are one of the most notable characters in the "Despicable Me" films. The minions possess one additional physiological characteristic; with a snap and a shake, they can double as glow sticks for activities in the dark, such as going through ventilation ducts (that scene was just LOL hilarious).
A rambunctious bunch of simple-minded homunculi, the Minions are a similar size and shape, but have unique features to tell them apart, such as height, number of eyes, roundness or secondary features such as hair, eye/pupil size or clothing. They choose to express themselves through actions, not words: their "language" is fairly basic, they speak in a strange jabber; except for the odd human word every now and again and occasional Spanish-sounding words like "Para tú" (roughly "for you") and "la boda" (during the second movie, meaning "marriage") as well as french in the second movie (poulet tikka masala, et pis c'est tout) , their language is incomprehensible to most humans, though they do understand English. It is also possible to isolate elements of Japanese from their speech patterns.
Their existence as artificial beings is noted by the final schematics in the little girls' room. the minions are possibly made from humans by a ray that turns humans into minions as seen in the Minions Mayhem ride at Universal Studios. This is generally considered non-canon, however. (Or just something Gru invented for the express purpose of the ride) One of the shorts in the DVD suggests they are made from a single strand of mutated DNA. The minions wear metal goggles accommodating their number of eyes, blue overalls with Gru's symbol on the front, and black gloves. They enjoy playing with Agnes, Edith, and Margo, as seen in the toilet paper fight scene.
They are impulsive creatures with little self-control, but with a wide-eyed wonder and odd innocence that endears them to viewers and makes them relatable. They can be pesky when they are doing weird interactions with other people, animals, or objects. The Minions have standard English names such as Larry, Dave, Kevin, Jerry, Stuart, Mark, Tim, Jorge, and Phil. They are fiercely loyal to Gru and Dr. Nefario and extremely eager to please, willingly helping with any evil plans, but at the same time they are friendly and funloving. Despite being relatively simple-minded, they are capable of building weapons, operating those weapons, using computers, and even driving.
Unlike most other criminal masterminds and their usual doctrine of abusing their henchmen, Gru gets along famously with his minions. He genuinely seems to like them and even shows appreciation for their hard work and support. He even seems to know each of them by name.
They are the official mascots for Illumination Entertainment. Minions love bananas and apples (or "papples" as they call them), and the mere sight of one of these fruits can result in complete chaos. They also enjoy fine arts and find anything having to do with butts extremely funny. There are few things these little guys do not find funny. They also love spitting, frog legs, bunnies, and building things. They love trying new things. They dislike being unsure of themselves, and when Gru leaves questions unanswered.
You can check out the full image on Collectibly site HERE