The cartoonist and pioneer of Malaysian animation Kamn Ismail’s 67th birthday is commemorated in today’s animated Doodle. He was responsible for modernizing Malaysia’s animation industry and the first superhero, Keluang Man.
In 1956, Ismail was born in Pengkalan Balak, Malacca, a small seaside town. As a child, he fell in love with drawing and aspired to be a comic book artist. He was hired by McMillen Film Company to oversee the creative aspects of a movie called Paper Tiger when he was a teenager because of his skills.
However, Ismail’s father advised him against continuing his career as a cartoonist. He was concerned that the developing animation industry in Malaysia would not be able to provide a steady income for his son.
Ismail put his goals on hold reluctantly. He worked as a clerk and held various positions at the Keretapi Tanah Melayu railway for the next 17 years. But Ismail never gave up on his goals and, in his spare time, secretly learned computer animation techniques.
He eventually got a chance to work for Kharisma Pictures because of his skills. He directed Usop Sontorian, Malaysia’s first animated television series, and trained the company’s animators. Ismail went on to become a director at UAS Animation Studios shortly after, where he made the popular animated series Keluang Man. By combining 2D and 3D animation, he brought the character to life. Ismail’s groundbreaking method contributed to the modernization of Malaysia’s animation industry.
Ismail’s work has been recognized as a Malaysian animation icon and has won numerous awards, including Best Animated Film at the Malaysia Film Festival.
Happy 67th birthday to the father of Malaysian animation!
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