Noor  Hafizah

You will get it, no matter how hard it will be.

My name is Noor Hafizah Jaafar Thani, but you can call me Fieza. I was born in Petaling Jaya, but raised in a small town called Klang. I'm the only girl among 4 brothers and the youngest too. Being the only girl around the boys have exposed me to a lot of stuffs that will later shape who I am today.

Since I was a little girl, I loved to draw. I used to draw on my house walls with my pencils and crayons. My mum was not too happy with it. Sometimes I would act out my drawings. Cats, people, flowers...they lit me up like decorative led lights and I'd doodle away enthusiastically. I remembered this drawing I did in kindergarten, about people in a park with flowers and a sun with a smiley face. The headmistress pinned it on the board with the rest of the other kid's drawings. I was so proud of myself back then. :)

My life was more or less surrounded with comics, cartoons, action figures...courtesy of my brothers. I was very thrilled every time I picked up my brother's comic books. 2000AD, Judge Dredd, NAM : Tour Of Duty, Spider-Man, Punisher, Superman, Dandy and Beano to name a few. The artworks and the colors and the stories were like magic to me. In a way, they've inspired me to draw and create my own stories and create wonderful yet novice characters. Back in 88, I drew my first comic. No title or pages. Just some scenes scattered in a page. They were about cats and dogs, mostly animals. I drew about how a cat save a dog's life from being captured by the dog catcher. It was a period of time when I watched cartoons on TV. Cartoons like Transformers, Care Bears, Centurions, MASK, My Little Pony, The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin, SilverHawks, Voltron and many more. By watching these cartoons, it inspired me to create and invent many many stories and adventures. My head was filled with elves, dragons, monsters, unicorns and mermaids to name a few. I could never stop drawing. Every time I woke up in the morning, I would grab my pen and sketch book and scribbled down ideas and doodled some pictures in my head. I was on a roll.

In 1991, something happened that changed my artistic creativity. The New Kids On The Block had taken over the world by storm, making most of the teen aged girls swooned and screamed for them. I was not left out. The inspiration I had from them was overwhelming. I created their characters and made them into comic books. I would imagine them in some adventures. I would draw them as musketeers, knights, cowboys and then I would come up with stories to make it more exciting. I shared them with friends and family. Since then I was nicknamed 'fieza comic'. It was the beginning of my love for sequential art.

During my high school days, it was in this bookstore called Formula that I bought my first comic book. It was called Rogue. The artist who penciled it was Mike Wieringo. It was love at first sight. I was smitten by the way he penciled the comic. Then the next week I bought Legionnaires #4. I was totally awed by the storyline. These 2 comics were the jumpstart for my very own comic title, The Cavaliers. I practiced hard on Mike Wieringo's strokes and try to get my own strokes along the way. I was also inspired by Slam Dunk done by Inoue Takehiko, so my strokes back then were a mix between east and west.

After SPM, I was looking for jobs. This time the internet was still new. I explored the World Wide Web and found out about MIRC, ICQ and Yahoo Messenger. I discovered that I can share my artworks and comics to people all over the world. So I did just that. Not too soon a man named Doc Boucher from America contacted me through ICQ and said he was interested in my artworks. He invited me to join his organization called Inter-Fan production. It was an organization that supported amateur comic artist to produce their work in an independent publishing. Alhamdulillah, I met a lot of cool inspiring artists and writers online. We shared ideas and projects and I talked about my Cavaliers comic.

Then I started college and I'm on a roll to write and draw this epic Cavalier story about five teenage boys who possessed unearthly powers of The Spirits and how they used it to protect and help. But I found out that college was a heavy toll for me. I was trying to catch up with the studies, I guess I felt that it kind of holding me down to continue my passion in comics. I wasn't doing quite well in the 3rd and 4th semester, playing truant and not finishing my assignments on time. I was very depressed. It was also the time when I felt I had no support to try and publish my comic and try to make it work. But I hide under my mask and buried myself in my other world, where dragons and elves rule and girl warriors are on a prowl for adventure. Then I met Dicky Ishkandar. He was kind of depressed like I was too, only he was kind of worse than me. I asked him what was wrong, and it was the start of an on-off relationship that ended up with marriage with 2 kids. :-D We joined the illustration class led by Buzz Walker Teach, an American. Not much students were in that class because back in those days, illustration was not a really popular subject to learn. I showed my lecturer my comics and artworks. I remembered the exact words he said with a that sparkle in his eyes. He said “with this kind of artworks, you don't have to go to school!” I really didn't know whether he was kidding or he was just trying to get my goat, but I was really flattered. I really miss him and I wish I could meet him again.

After college life, I worked as an illustrator at Cerdik Publication. During these time, I was active in Pekomik. It's a small local organization that support and help Malaysians to achieve their comic dreams and get it published. I had a dream too. I dream that I could publish my Cavaliers in Malaysia and the world and I get to visit the fabled San Diego Comic Convention. Plus it will be a dream to meet some of the greats of the comic industry. Anyway, we in Pekomik did a comic convention a few times. The biggest so far was in PWTC around 2008. Pekomik also organised an event called the Malaysian 24 Hour Comics Day 2007. It was an event that happened around the world, where you have to create a 24 pages comic within 24 hours. I participated in that event. It was an experience I could never forget. Also in that year I managed to publish my Cavaliers in the US under Main Enterprise, an independent fandom organization like Inter-Fan. But it's a pity because I only managed to publish 1 episode of The Cavaliers because I had artist's block.

In 2010, I got married to Dicky Ishkandar and my comic career slowed down a little. The dream is still there, and already I have a few stories in my head on how to expand my Cavaliers universe. The elves, the mermaids, the adventure. I still cannot leave it behind, even though I am now a mother and a wife to two girls. I still do freelance jobs to support my family. I believe that if you have that dream, keep chasing it and always believe that one day, you will get it, no matter how hard it will be. InsyaAllah, one day I will hopefully get a chance to share my stories and my artworks to the world. This is the best of me. :)
Noor Hafizah