‘Saga’ Not Banned From Apple Devices For Gay Sex Imagery; Comixology Apologizes For Error

Saga Issue 12 Cover
The latest issue of "Saga," a new comic from Brian K. Vaughan, was believed to have been banned by Apple but it turned out to be an error on the part of Comixology. Image Comics

“Saga,” the latest comic series from writer Brian K. Vaughan (“Y: The Last Man”) and artist Fiona Staples, was supposedly banned from Apple iOS devices due to two images portraying gay sex. Many blamed Apple policies, but it turned out to be an error on the part of Comixology, which has since apologized for the comic’s temporary absence.

Comixology developed the Comics app, available on Android and Apple devices, that sells digital comics, including Vaughan’s “Saga.” The 12th issue of the comic was to be released Wednesday, but it appeared to be banned due to two small images portraying gay sex.

Vaughan discussed the ban on Image Comics’ Tumblr, saying, “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.” iO9 noted that “Saga” has tackled many graphic themes in previous issues, including nudity, childbirth and violence.

Vaughan suggested several possible alternatives for fans who were unable to download the latest issue of “Saga” on their Apple devices, including buying the comic at a local retailer or through Image directly. Vaughan apologized for the inconvenience to his fans and also thanked Image for their support.

While many pointed the finger at Apple, it turned out that Comixology had erred on the side of caution and had temporarily delayed the release of “Saga” #12.

CEO David Steinberger said in a statement, “In the last 24 hours there has been a lot of chatter about Apple banning Saga #12 from our Comics App on the Apple App Store due to depictions of gay sex. This is simply not true, and we’d like to clarify. As a partner of Apple, we have an obligation to respect its policies for apps and the books offered in apps. Based on our understanding of those policies, we believed that Saga #12 could not be made available in our app, and so we did not release it today.”

Steinberger stressed that Apple did not ban the latest issue of “Saga” and after Comixology discussed the matter with Apple, it realized “our interpretation of its policies was mistaken.”

Vaughan released a statement following the news of Comixology’s apology, according to Bleeding Cool: "Yesterday, I was mistakenly led to believe that this issue was solely with Apple, but it’s now clear that it was only ever Comixology too conservatively interpreting Apple’s rules. I’m truly sorry.  I never thought either company was being homophobic, only weirdly inconsistent about what kind of adult material was permissible.  I’m grateful that the situation was cleared up so quickly, and I’m delighted I can go back to reading smutty comics on my Retina Display iPad.” 

“Saga” is available digitally via Comixology’s website or its app, Comics, available on Android and Apple devices, or through Image Comics.

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