PETALING JAYA: Today, Google’s animated Doodle on its search engine page celebrates the late Kamarudin Ismail, a Malaysian cartoonist and pioneer in animation.
Kamarudin, or better known as Kamn Ismail, was responsible for creating Malaysia’s first superhero, Keluang Man.
Based on DC Comic’s Batman, the Keluang Man cartoon series gained popularity from its first appearance on RTM1 in 1998.
Kamarudin was born on this day in 1956 in the small seaside town of Pengkalan Balak, Melaka. He fell in love with drawing as a child and dreamed of becoming a comic artist.
When he was a teenager, his skills attracted the attention of the McMillen Film Company, which hired him to oversee the creative aspects of a movie called Paper Tiger.
He wanted to continue his career as a cartoonist but his father cautioned against it, fearing that Malaysia’s emerging animation industry at that time could not provide him a stable income.
Kamaruddin reluctantly took a break from animation, worked as a clerk and held several positions in KTMB for the next 17 years. In the meantime, he secretly learned computer animation techniques.
His talent eventually attracted the attention of production company Kharisma Pictures. Kamarudin was tasked with training the company’s animators and directed Malaysia’s first animated television series, Usop Sontorian, in 1996.
He later became a director at UAS Animation Studios, where he created the hit animation series Keluang Man.
He brought the character to life by blending 2D and 3D animation, which was considered an innovative technique for its time.
His work won numerous prizes such as the Best Animated Film at the Malaysia Film Festival, and he was named a Malaysian Animation Icon.
Kamarudin died on Dec 8, 2019 at the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre.