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Apple App Store Bans ‘Saga’ #12 Over Graphic Sexual Imagery

UPDATE: ComiXology has since confirmed that Vaughan’s statement was inaccurate, and that the company never submitted Saga #12 to Apple. More here.

Brian K. Vaughan announced via press release on Tuesday that the latest issue of his and Fiona Staples’ popular comic book Saga will not be available to readers via ComiXology or other digital comics platforms for iOS devices such as iPad and iPhone; anything that’s purchased in-app through the Apple App Store. As is its contentious and often unpredictable tradition, Apple seems to have objected to graphic sexual content again. In the case of Saga #12, that content is two very small images depicting explicit oral sex between men.Published by Image Comics, Saga has become well known to readers for its graphic depictions of human(oid) anatomy in various states of “graphic” being, including a woman giving birth, complete with umbilical cord biting and breastfeeding; aliens with televisions for heads going at it “doggy style”; and multiple people getting destroyed in extremely violent ways that tend to include their guts falling out. There’s also quite a bit of language my mother would characterize as “trashy” and “vulgar.”

Nevertheless, every issue of the hugely acclaimed space opera series has made it through Apple’s App Store until now. As identified by Vaughan in his press release below, issue #12′s offending images are some very small but explicit images of male-on-male oral sex, including several so-called “money shots,” which are displayed on the television head of Saga villain Prince Robot IV.

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***.

(censored by us)

As Vaughan points out, Saga has included what many people would say is much more intense imagery than a blowjob. But then again we can’t actually show you those pages because to do so would violate our own AOL guidelines for graphic content, so I suppose one’s mileage may vary on that. Truthfully I didn’t even notice either image when I read the review copy earlier today, so kudos to the eagle eyed App Store censor, I guess?

In any case, digital comics readers can still get their copy of Saga this week via several ways. ComiXology customers can purchase the issue at ComiXology’s website, as opposed to within the iOS app. Doing so will not only allows you to read the comic on any of your ComiXology-enabled devices — including iOS devices — but it also bypasses Apple’s App Store completely and puts more of your purchase price in the pockets of the comic creators and publishers. Vaughan offered additional suggestions:

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 http://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

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