Apple Bans Upcoming Issue Of Comic Series Saga For Images Of Gay Sex

Tomorrow’s Saga #12 — the latest issue of Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ critically acclaimed series — won’t be available for purchase via comics-reading apps on the iPad or iPhone, because it contains images of gay sex. That means that folks who buy and read the sci-fi adventure drama via apps like Comixology won’t be able to do so once the issue goes on sale.

The images in question aren’t the focus of their respective panels — which can be seen here and here in a Comic Book Resources preview — but nevertheless Apple won’t be letting readers access it via their iDevices. Vaughan has a statement on the matter on the Tumblr page for Saga publisher Image Comics:

As has hopefully been clear from the first page of our first issue, SAGA is a series for the proverbial “mature reader.” Unfortunately, because of two postage stamp-sized images of gay sex, Apple is banning tomorrow’s SAGA #12 from being sold through any iOS apps. This is a drag, especially because our book has featured what I would consider much more graphic imagery in the past, but there you go. Fiona and I could always edit the images in question, but everything we put into the book is there to advance our story, not (just) to shock or titillate, so we’re not changing shit.

Apologies to everyone who reads our series on iPads or iPhones, but here are your alternatives for Wednesday:

1) Head over to you friendly neighbourhood comics shop and pick up a physical copy of our issue that you can have and hold forever.

2) While you’re at it, don’t forget to support the Comic Book Legal defence Fund, which helps protect retailers who are brave enough to carry work that some in their communities might consider offensive. You can find signed copies of Saga at the CBLDF site right now.

3) Download the issue directly through sites like https://comics.imagecomics.com/https://comics.imagecomics.com or on your non-Apple smartphone or tablet.

4) If all else fails, you might be able to find SAGA #12 in Apple’s iBookstore, which apparently sometimes allows more adult material to be sold than through its apps. Crazy, right?

Anyway, special thanks to Eric Stephenson and everyone at Image for supporting our decision, and for always being so supportive of creators. Sorry again to readers for the inconvenience, but I hope everyone will be able to find an issue that Fiona and I are particularly proud of. And after you do, please check out PanelSyndicate.com, the new digital comics site I own with artist Marcos Martin, which remains 100% uncensored by corporate overlords.

Your pal, Brian

Saga has featured scenes of mature content — including violent death, childbirth and heterosexual intercourse — in its pages before. But this ban is the first instance of gatekeeping that the series has experienced. A few weeks ago, a similar blockage attempted to keep Sex #1a darkly themed comic that aims to explore superhero repression by Joe Casey and Piotr Kowalski — from Apple’s delivery system.

The same workaround that readers could use to get that issue will likely work here. If Saga #12 is bought on Comixology’s web interface, it will show up inside the dedicated Image or Comixology apps after purchases are synced on a device.

Saga’s a great series, one of the best comics being published today and it stands to reason that the people reading it — and driving its sales ever upwards — know what they’re getting in terms of content. They probably don’t need Apple to vet what they’re going to be reading. Apple has done this kind of moralistic filtering before and each time they do, the electronics giant looks a bit more out of touch with the consumers that have vaulted them to such ridiculous success.


Comments

    21st century technology, 19th century attitude.

      Don't be so quick to point the finger, sounds more like a trigger happy worker than a cultural thing at Apple. Don't forget Apple's CEO Tim Cook himself is gay. Pornography itself is explicitly banned by in the Apple developer agreement, perhaps the other cases snuck through the cracks.

    I haven't read the comics, or know what they're about.
    But why does the android guy have gay sex on his screen in the first place? Was he watching it?
    I assume it's just a malfunction that happened when he was shot.

      Thanks for the spoiler. I didn't want to open those images of the panels, but now that doesn't matter.

      Oh and to answer your question, his screen shows random stuff like that all the time (though never porn before). I interrupted it as a representation of his raw emotion or confusion mixed with some sort of computer error.

      Last edited 10/04/13 9:49 am

    Saga is awesome. Hopefully this publicity deservedly gains them many more readers.

    Edit: Given the workarounds, this doesn't sound like it's much more than an inconvenience though. What do Apple think they will accomplish here?

    Last edited 10/04/13 8:29 am

    Homophobic morons.. Apple can suck a dick, Im moving to Android now.

    They should just ban it because it's crap.

    I thought Apple took a strong stand against all depictions of sex? Did this change? Can I get porn in my Apps again?

    On headline/first line, I was ready to dismiss with a glib, "Well. Apple's kinda on record as rooting out (pardon the pun) and removing ANY pictures of people screwing," but if they got some straight sex in there, I guess that's not quite true then?

    So... yeah. Homophobia. Not awesome, Apple. I wonder how the gay employees feel about enforcing that policy... You can sue if your employer is homophobic to you, but what if your employer's only homophobic to its customers? Interesting delineation, there.

    Having read the previous issues of Saga and now seen the offending images above I can see where Apple are coming from with this.
    The images in question are much more graphic than the previous sexual images featured in Saga. I think it's unfair to assume that Apple has banned these because of their Homosexual nature as it's more likely it is because of their hardcore pornographic content. That fact that they're of 2 men probably doesn't come into it. They're of close up oral sex and a 'cum shot'.
    Apple draws a line where sexual content it concerned. When you're managing such a big eco-system the line has to be concrete. You can't be reviewing everything thing on context, size of the image and the nature of it. It has to be a hard rule of "no dick in mouths" & "no cum".
    It's shame as I love the series.

    One more reason to choose android I guess.

    I love how I just read a comic about a 12 year girl disemboweling and killing people in the most gruesome ways imaginable (Hit Girl) but we can't see people having sex.

    Brutal murder and violence yay! Consensual sex boooo!

      Go Kick Ass! I love those books!

    Well this is bull****.

    Also the Comixology website > app workaround doesn't work. I just bought Sex #1 off the website to test it out and then download it through the Comixology app in the Purchases tab, but I get the message "The server has no record of (or is unable to locate) the requested resource".

    At least this gives Saga more exposure....

    If you buy it through comixology main page, you can still sync it, fyi.

    As a gay person, when I heard about this, I was pretty outraged and ready to cry 'homophobia'. But after actually seeing the image in question, it's clear that this is about sex rather than the fact that it's gay sex. The image is quite graphic, I have no doubt that if it was a female performing the same act on a male, it would still be censored. That said, I don't agree with the the decision, but I don't think it's fair to accuse Apple of homophobia.

    Fortunately, I have an android tablet, so I don't have to worry about missing out on the issue!

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