Northwest Press, known for its commitment to publishing LGBTQ comic books, has a long history of fighting Apple to get its books out to readers digitally through the iBooks store. The publisher's most recent release, Hard To Swallow, was recently rejected due to sexual content, so in response the publisher has made the comic free to download --- but with all the naughty bits covered up with pictures of apples.

The publisher has a rocky history with the tech giant that stretches back before comics were widely available on devices such as the iPad. Some titles, including the sexually explicit Teleny And Camille were accepted, but others such as Jon Macy’s Fearful Hunter were rejected in their collected form, even though the individual issues were still available to buy.

In the wake of another rejection based on sexual content with LGBTQ themes, Northwest Press is taking a stand against Apple and its policy on explicit content. Publisher Charles “Zan” Christensen compared the rejection of Northwest comics to a television company choosing what you get to watch on pay-per-view, and noted that by banning books, Apple is harming small publishers.

Created by Justin Hall and Dave Davenport, and illustrated by a range of artist, the adults-only Hard To Swallow collects together short gay erotic comics from the Hard To Swallow anthlology series, originally published from 2006-2009. The “Apple Version” of the collection is completely free to download, but readers who want to see what's under the apples will need to pay for the full version! Northwest Press hopes that readers will write to Apple via the iBooks feedback form to share their opinions on the company's policy. The “Apple Version” also contains a link to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, which protect creators from censorship and legal threats.