Charles Zembillas is still waiting for credit where it’s due. The veteran animator cut his teeth on the likes of He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe and She-Ra: Princess Of Power before designing several of the most iconic video game mascots of all time: Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, Jak and Daxter. As the man behind such gaming royalty, there’s a good chance his work played a significant role in your childhood—and an even greater chance you’ve never heard his name before now.
Zembillas calls himself “a real firebrand,” and it’s clear that he’s speaking from the heart. He’s immensely proud of what he’s created, but there’s definitely a bit of anger that games never quite gave him back what he put into them. It’s not a question of financial return; money rarely came up, and Zembillas continues to make a living off animation through the Animation Academy in Burbank, California, of which Zembillas is the founder, president, and lead instructor.