This week in comic book censorship news, Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga is undergoing a bit of harassment from Apple. Apparently, they’re refusing to distribute the latest issue, #12, via their apps due to some questionably sexy content. A debate has arisen, however, of whether Apple is doing this because they don’t want to associate themselves with what they see as pornography, or whether it’s because the nature of the pornography in question is same-sex.
Apple has been on a rampage as of late, taking down more than 1500 other titles that it deemed inappropriate. They’re not happy with anything dirty being sold through them, but they have run Saga freely up to the current issue and, if creator Vaughan can be trusted, there have been worse things in previous issues.
Vaughan’s press release states his own opinion on the matter:
Annoying press release thing: APPLE vs. SAGA #12
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 s**t.
Apologies to everyone who reads our series on iPads or iPhones, but here are your alternatives for Wednesday:
1) Head over to you friendly neighborhood 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 Defense 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 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.
So the question of whether this is because of the nature of the sex is up for debate. Legally, Apple is entitled to refuse to sell anything they don’t want to. With the proliferation of other ways to get the comic, their opinion probably doesn’t mean very much in the short-run – just another group of people who don’t approve of this or that. Luckily for us, we have the Internet, which no one entity rules (unless you count LOLcats).
Thanks to IGN for the heads-up.