Intellectual Marijuana: comics and their critics

In terms of their reputation within respectable society, comics hit their nadir in the early 1950s. Slowly, however, the pendulum started to swing the other way.

The careers of two Catholic intellectuals, Marshall McLuhan and Father Walter Ong, illustrate how comics re-won respect in the post-war era. In the 1940s, long before his fame as a media guru, McLuhan was exciting the imagination of bright, young students by confidently linking together disparate phenomena, from modernist art to medieval theology, into a single worldview. He gathered around him a circle of fledging scholars, including a young priest named Walter Ong, who were eager to join in his quest to make sense of the modern techno-communication landscape — what we now call, thanks in part to McLuhan, the media. —Intellectual Marijuana: comics and their critics (

Originally published in The Toronto Star.