Latest Issue Of Digital Comic Saga “Banned” From App Store For Depiction Of Gay Sex

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Another publisher is feigning surprise about Apple’s App Store policies today, claiming that Cupertino has “banned” an upcoming issue of a digital combic book from being sold in any iOS app due to “two postage stamp-sized images of gay sex.”

The comic in question is called Saga. Published by Image Comics and written by famous comics writer Brian K. Vaughan (who was behind the fantastic Vertigo series Y: The Last Man), Saga aims to be Star Wars meets Game of Thrones: a space opera with a lot of violence, profanity and sexposition.

But while previous issues of Saga were sold through apps like the Image Comics, Saga #12 will not be sold digitally on iOS.

Over on the official Image Comics Tumblr, Vaughan writes:

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.

Like them or not, Apple’s policy on things like graphic sex in-app are pretty explicitly stated, so it seems a little disingenuous to make like this was a surprise, but Vaughan is right that there is a double-standard here, where graphic violence is okay content on the App Store but much less graphic depictions of sexual encounters between adults are not.

  • ReverendMagnett

    The problem is that the policy doesn’t draw a clear line as to what is “graphic sex”. Apple has previously allowed “Saga” to public a wide variety of sexual images including heterosexual sex and male genitalia. You can see some examples on this post:
    http://chasemagnett.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/saga-censorship/

  • APPL13D5C13NC3

    im not a graphic novel reader but after looking at reverendmagnett’s link i think ill read saga. those look fuckin badass.

  • ReverendMagnett

    It is really one of the best comics on shelves today. As someone who spends upwards of 10 hours every week reading and writing about the medium, it’s my favorite comic currently being published.

    You can get the first six issues for only $9.99 at any establishment selling comics or check out the first issue free on Comixology. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

  • APPL13D5C13NC3

    cool, thanks

  • roblef

    I think Vaughn’s main point is that the comic has graphic representations of heterosexual sex without getting banned, and it was only this issue, with gay sex, that was banned.

  • gnomehole

    I suppose people for sex equality will be all hypocritical about this… Apple would ban images of sex, so why not same sex. I guess we should respect everyone’s beliefs and opinions… except white upper/middle class christian men…

  • rogifan

    Wow first world problems here,

  • ReverendMagnett

    @gnomehole The issue is that they did not ban images of sex. Multiple issues of “Saga” have received no censorship, despite displaying graphic sex in a much larger and more obvious fashion.

    If you look at the work, there’s a clear double standard. Please check out my post below, if you want to check out the evidence.

  • craigburdett

    Just checked and Saga #12 is not available yet, but it’s in my reminders and when it shows up I’ll buy the first graphic novel in my 52 years on the planet. Shame Apple decided to pass on the revenue. Walled garden be damned – I’m syncing that b*tch to my iPads.

  • APPL13D5C13NC3

    all this aside, i love apple to death, but they have been sucking lately with little things, totally unrelated but i hate how quickly they change shit on their policies on icloud, i cant delete a song off icloud on itunes i can only hide it? seriously apple? wtf

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John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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