Update: comiXology CEO: 'Apple Not Behind SAGA Ban'

Update April 12, 2013: The Saga #12 saga continues today with a strange twist. According to comiXology CEO David Steinberger, Apple never banned the issue - comiXology actually never submitted it to the company for approval at all. In a statement on the comiXology Blog, Steinberger had this to say:

"To our customers -

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.

We did not interpret the content in question as involving any particular sexual orientation, and frankly that would have been a completely irrelevant consideration under any circumstance.

Given this, it should be clear that Apple did not reject Saga #12.

After hearing from Apple this morning, we can say that our interpretation of its policies was mistaken. You’ll be glad to know that Saga #12 will be available on our App Store app soon.

We apologize to Saga creator Brian K. Vaughn and Image Comics for any confusion this may have caused.

All the best,

David Steinberger

CEO and co-founder

comiXology"

There is no express indication or explanation why the two small depictions of gay sex in Saga #12 would potentially violate Apple's policies when previous sexual content in the series didn't, however, though de Guzman's previous mention of sex without visible genitalia is likely the relevant reason. As Steinberger said, the issue will be available on their iOS apps soon.

 

Original Story: Apple has banned this week's Saga #12 due to what writer Brian K. Vaughan dubs "two postage stamp-sized images of gay sex." 

In a statement released through Saga co-creator and artist Fiona Staples' Tumblr, Vaughan disclosed that Apple isn't allowing sales of the issue through any iOS apps. The issue will still be on sale through comiXology's web store and can then by synced to iOS devices, as the digital distributor stated on Twitter.

"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," Vaughan wrote. "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 sh*t."

Past issues of Saga have also featured graphic sex scenes, but as stated by Image's PR and marketing director Jennifer de Guzman on the comments section of The Beat, "There was sex in earlier issues, but no genitalia shown." A preview of the issue on CBR revealed the panels in question, which feature a man giving oral sex to another man, and a subsequent depiction of ejactulation; both displayed on Prince Robot IV's screen.

"Anyway, special thanks to Eric Stephenson and everyone at Image for supporting our decision, and for always being so supportive of creators," Vaughan's statement continued. "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."

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