Bugs and Bible
Barry is the president, founder and director of Wacky World Studios and creator
of the Christian-themed Roach Approach and Bug Rangers children's videos. Barry
has also designed award-winning 3-D sets for Universal Studios and Rain Forest
Cafe and created themed environments for many children's churches. He recently
spoke with Staff Writer Christina Quick.
tpe: How did you
get started drawing cartoons?
BARRY: I learned
cartooning from my dad, who was a cartoonist for Disney. I started holding a
pencil and drawing alongside him when I was 2 years old. I can remember
cartooning all over my bedroom walls. I've always loved creating stuff that's
tpe: Are you
concerned about some of the violent and sexually charged cartoons being
marketed to kids today?
BARRY: I watch
Cartoon Network and Nick Studios to see what's out there and what these kids
are watching. It makes me absolutely ill. It pushes me harder to create quality
material with a Christian theme.
tpe: Why did you
choose roaches as the main characters in your cartoons?
BARRY: I was in
line at a 7-Eleven and two kids were picking out candy. The little girl picked
up something called Brains. The candy oozes out and you lick it. The boy picked
up something that was a lollipop with a mouth and tongue.
It occurred to me
that the grossest stuff was what got their attention. Later that day, this huge
roach came out of my garden, stopped and sort of turned toward me. I thought,
That's it. I'm going to have bugs telling Bible stories. I sat there that
weekend and created the Bug Rangers concept.
tpe: What do you
hope to accomplish with Bug Rangers?
BARRY: I'm trying
to get across that the Bible is the coolest book in the world. It's full of
stories you will never get tired of. My passion is reaching kids for Christ. I'm
taking what I've learned in the secular world and using it in God's kingdom.
tpe: How did you
become a Christian?
BARRY: Seven years
ago I got a phone call from a children's pastor in Springdale, Ark., asking me
to design their new kids area. I had never set foot in a church. I eventually
agreed to take the job, but I put up a defensive wall against anyone who would
try to proselytize me.
One evening while
I was working, they were getting ready for a children's event and setting up
all these Bible story vignettes. This 12-year-old girl came up and asked me to
draw a whale with its mouth open. When I asked why, she said, "Don't you know
the story of Jonah and the whale?" So she shared the story with me. I was blown
away. Here I was, a 40-year-old man, and I had never heard that story.
She captured my
interest. I looked over and said, "So what's up with the loaf of bread and the
fish?" That night I walked around with a little girl and learned the simple
stories of the Bible. I said, "These stories are better than any Disney movie
out there! Why haven't I heard these stories?"
The next day I
accepted Christ into my life. It was an absolute rebirth. I felt like a totally
different person. I was on fire and ready to take on every church in America
and reach kids for Christ.
tpe: So it took a
child to reach you for Christ so you could, in turn, reach other kids?
BARRY: That's how
God works. He knew my wall was up for adults, so He went underneath my radar
and used a child. Now I'm designing for churches all over the nation and making
videos to teach kids about God. I want to tell these great Bible stories so
kids won't have to wait until they're 40 to hear them.
TPExtra video: View a clip of Bug Rangers here
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