Tim Eldred, character designer and storyboard artist on Academy TV, is also the creator of the Grease Monkey graphic novel and director of the Avengers Assemble animated series. The comic book's website has an extensive article on the history of Grease Monkey, detailing how he landed his first gig in animation while pitching the concept for an animated series to Universal Studios. A separate article contains a collection of drawings and sketches that were used to pitch the project various studio executives.
In the fall of 1995, Grease Monkey was pitched as an animated TV series to several networks and studios, including MCA/Universal. Producer Ralph Sanchez took a shine to it, particularly the artwork on my presentation boards, and he offered me a job on a series in development called Wing Commander Academy (based on a PC game starring Mark Hamill).
The timing couldn’t have been better. Things were getting rough in the comics industry because not enough had been done to broaden the audience (ah, you could cut the irony with a knife), and animation was the next logical stomping ground. I didn’t have any practical experience in animation storyboarding, but Ralph and Universal took a chance on me anyway, and I didn’t let them down. I ended up storyboarding several episodes of WCA and serving as a character designer for the series during the summer of 1996. The show debuted on USA Network that fall, and it gave me my first official screen credits.Readers who are into classic Japanese animation or graphic novels may also be interested in this lengthy audio interview with Tim Eldred from about a decade ago.