March 6, 2023  •  By Christine Pasalo Norland

Hello Barkada at WonderCon 2023

Hello Barkada hosted Sandra Equihua, Amanda Meadows, Lea Anderson, Malissa White, Viktor Kerney, John Jennings, Elizabeth Ito, and Reyna Cervantes on panels at WonderCon 2023

Descriptions for the panels presented by Hello Barkada are shared below. Please also enjoy the Hello Barkada Takes WonderCon 2023 playlist on Spotify!

As the founder of an arts organization not yet two years old, I'm honored to organize conversations with such an esteemed group of creators whose universal works in front of and behind the scenes reclaim space daily for we who are BIPOC, LGBTQ+, disabled, and intersectional. I'm excited to celebrate them and their work, as well as provide them with a chance to nerd/geek out with like minds and relish being fans themselves.

I also appeared on two additional panels: Hip-Hop and Comics: Cultures Combining on Saturday, March 25, presented by Patrick A. Reed, Hip-Hop, comics, & pop culture historian; and The New Age of WOC Comic Creators on Sunday, March 26, presented by Kayden Phoenix, comic writer and founder of A LA BRAVA, the first Latina superhero team in comic book history. Besides literally sitting at the same tables as the veteran Hip-Hop artists and comic creators Patrick typically assembles, I looked forward to the opportunity to raise up women like Ruby Ibarra, Jamila Rowser, and Raeghan Buchanan. With regards to Kayden's panel, I was excited to appear with comic creator Maxi Rodriguez, who made Hello Barkada history as the first cartoonist to be featured in the Hello Barkada Comic series.

In recognition of hosting panels on stolen Gabrielino-Tongva land, Hello Barkada would like to donate the cost of a three-day badge to attend WonderCon to a Tongva organization. If you would like to recommend a Tongva organization for consideration, please email contact[at]

WonderCon 2023 took place in person and from Friday, March 24, through Sunday, March 26, at the Anaheim Convention Center. San Diego Comic Convention (SDCC) recommends medical quality masks, COVID vaccination, and a negative COVID test prior to attending. I am vaxxed and boosted, and will wear a K95 at all times indoors, even as I moderate and speak on panels.



Eisner-nominated senior editor of comics Amanda Meadows, illustrator and Annie and Emmy Award-winning animator Sandra Equihua, and Emmy and Peabody Award-winning animator Elizabeth Ito discuss how they've navigated their creative industries to produce stories that excite them, and how industry practices must change to give fans more stories that reflect a wider range of characters and experiences. Moderated by Christine Pasalo Norland.


Amanda Meadows (she/her) is an Eisner-nominated Senior Editor of comics, illustrated books, and prose who has previously worked for Lion Forge Comics and Limerence Press, Oni Press' imprint dedicated to sexual wellness, gender studies, and romance in fiction and non-fiction. In recognition of her work, Publishers Weekly named her a "Rising Star" Honoree in 2015. Currently, she is co-publisher of the critically acclaimed indie humor press The Devastator. Follow Amanda on Instagram at @megamander and Twitter at @amandonium.

Sandra Equihua (she/her) is an illustrator, voice actress, painter, sculptor, and Annie and Emmy Award-winning animation veteran whose credits include The Book of Life (20th Century Fox Animation), El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera (Nickelodeon), and Maya and the Three (Netflix), and the animated short Son of Jaguar (2017). Learn more about and from Sandra by watching Design Your Heritage with Sandra Equihua, a 2022 virtual program presented by Rise Up Animation. 

Elizabeth Ito (she/her) is an Emmy Award-winning and Peabody Award-winning animation veteran whose credits include Adventure Time (Cartoon Network) and City of Ghosts (Netflix), and the animated shorts Welcome to My Life (2017) and Mall Stories: Atilla the Grilla (2022). Follow Elizabeth on Instagram at @ottersnaps and Twitter at @kikutowne.

Christine Pasalo Norland (she/her) is the founder and president of Hello Barkada, and a contributing writer to Popverse and the forthcoming Gladiolus Magazine from Black Josei Press. In 2022, she was named a Kinnard Awardee by the indie press Laneha House for her work in cultivating an inclusive comics community. Follow Hello Barkada on Instagram and Twitter at @hellobarkada.



What kind of thrills make a film or TV show a horror story? Award-winning graphic novelist John Jennings, horror scholar and columnist Lea Anderson, editor and writer Viktor Kerney, editor and writer Malissa White, and podcaster and writer Reyna Cervantes discuss the elements they feel qualify a film or TV show as horror, then (re)classify a set list of past and recent films and TV shows on a scale of Horror, Thriller, or Neither. Moderated by Christine Pasalo Norland.


John Jennings (he/him) is a Hugo Award-winning and Eisner Award-winning graphic novelist, author, professor, curator, and (as noted on his website about page) "all-around champion of Black culture." He is also the director of the Abrams ComicArts imprint Megascope, which publishes graphic novels focused on the experiences of people of color. You can also catch John with professors Stanford Carpenter and Ajani Brown on the panel Before Black Panther: Reclaiming the Legacies of Proto-Afrofuturist Comic Books and Sequential Art on Saturday, March 25, at 11 a.m. in Room 300E. Follow John on Instagram at @johnjenningsart and Twitter at @JIJennings.

Lea Anderson (she/they) is a horror scholar who writes and speaks about horror movies, monstrosity, and culture from a Black feminist perspective. She is a columnist for the horror and cult film magazine Fangoria, with additional credits in Collider, Cinéspeak, and Bright Wall/Dark Room. Follow Lea on Twitter at @leaeanderson.

Viktor Kerney (he/him) is the creator of the queer webcomic StrangeLore and the co-host of MEGAsheen, a bi-weekly podcast devoted to geek and gay culture from the QPOC/queer people of color perspective. He is also the co-editor of We Belong, an upcoming full-color comic anthology exploring Black queer stories in the science-fiction and fantasy genres published by Stacked Deck Press and Prism Comics. Follow Viktor on Instagram at @hisnameisviktor and Twitter at @wondermann5.

Malissa White (she/they) is comic book writer and editor, pop culture reviewer, and producer who loves to bring Black women to the forefront of horror, science-fiction, and fantasy. She is the creator behind the critically acclaimed comics NIGHTMARE, SOUNDBOX: A Kamikaze Wall Tale, “Vessel”, Grimm Tales from The Cave and more. She is also an editor at Scout Comics and a contributing writer to comic publications Comicon, The Valkryies blog, and the Eisner Award-winning PanelxPanel. Follow Malissa on Instagram and Twitter at @malissifent.

Reyna Cervantes (she/her) is a journalist and games critic whose bylines appear in Fangoria, Bloody Disgusting, Netflix, Syfy, and A.Frame. She is also the co-host of The Carnal Extremities Podcast, a podcast "pairing up extreme horror films with extreme music to satisfy all of those draconian desires." Follow Reyna on Twitter at @Jfcdoomblade.

Christine Pasalo Norland (she/her) is the founder and president of Hello Barkada, and a contributing writer to Popverse and the forthcoming Gladiolus Magazine from Black Josei Press. In 2022, she was named a Kinnard Awardee by the indie press Laneha House for her work in cultivating an inclusive comics community. Follow Hello Barkada on Instagram and Twitter at @hellobarkada.



Hip-Hop and comics share numerous connections, and exist in constant communication with one another: Rappers and graffiti artists utilize superheroic imagery; DJs and producers create universes of sound; comic creators and animators incorporate Hip-Hop's musical and visual vocabularies; and both forms reconfigure and remix elements, blending styles and genres and inspiring passionate fanbases. Moderator Patrick A. Reed brings together an all-star group of artistic innovators to discuss the bonds between these two vital creative cultures.

Follow Patrick A. Reed on Instagram at @djpatrickareed.




Kayden Phoenix (A LA BRAVA, JALISCO), Ghezal Omar (.357 Magnum Opus, Pimp Killer), Maxi Rodriguez (Kasuto Productions, Chronicles of a ChubbyBunny), and Christine Pasalo Norland (writer; founder and president, Hello Barkada) discuss how changing the vanguard allows for new characters and untold stories to be told with pride and authenticity.

Follow A LA BRAVA on Instagram at @latinasuperheroes.

Get into our Hello Barkada Takes WonderCon 2023 playlist, featuring songs by Ciara, Ruby Ibarra, A Tribe Called Quest, Beyoncé, The Linda Lindas, X-Ray Spex, Nikbo, Janelle Monáe, Erykah Badu, and more. Play it during your walk up ACC Plaza, as you pass through the glass entry doors of the Anaheim Convention Center and the RFID scanners, on the slow ride up the escalators, and as you head towards Rooms 209 and 300E. And if for some reason there's a line to get into either room, dance like no one's watching. 

Do these conversations matter to you? Become a Barkada Backer and support independent arts journalism and programming. Join a community of like-minded people who are passionate about arts & culture, help support our comics series and livestream programs, and much more. Become a Barkada Backer today!


Text in black says "You May Also Like" followed by a black line break.
White text says, "On Turning Two. Pushing away the toxic dialogue of internalized criticisms to acknowledge how Hello Barkada stayed true to its mission through its second year." Text on a darkened image of a sunset behind a silhouette of pines, across a trimmed grass field, and seen through tall grasses.
White text says, "Join us on IG Live on Thursday, September 14, at 4:00 p.m. PT when we chat with Bay area cartoonist and multidisciplinary artist Lawrence Lindell about his upcoming graphic novel Blackward and what it means and takes to create communities of care." Text on a darkened profile photo of Lindell.