Update: Apple Bans Saga #12 For Gay Sex Scene

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Update: Apple Bans Saga #12 For Gay Sex Scene

"Two postage stamp-sized images of gay sex," are enough to knock a comic off the app store.

image

Update: Apple did not ban the comic from its stores. That decision was made internally at Comixology. Read more here.

With the possible exception of Locke and Key, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples' Saga is the best thing happening in comics right now. It's a heady mixture of high adventure, classic fantasy, space opera surrealism and the same biting humor that Vaughan brought to Ex Machina and Y: The Last Man. It's good, go read it.

But not on any of the comic portal apps available on iOS, as Apple is banning the series' twelfth issue from sale on the grounds that it contains "two postage stamp-sized images of gay sex." At least, that's the story according to a recent announcement from Vaughan.

For reference, Saga's first line of dialogue is, "Am I shitting? It feels like I'm shitting," part of what is eventually revealed to be a relatively graphic childbirth scene. One of its central characters is the bisected phantom of a teenage girl, complete with hanging ghostly intestines. In issue four, a character visits "Sextillion," an absurdly over-the-top "pleasure planet" complete with multi-breasted centipede hookers, phallic architecture, evil pedophile aliens. Oh! And (NSFW) gay sex (NSFW) In short; It's an adult series, for adults. Yet this is the first issue to run into trouble with Apple's content policies.

So what can you do to get around Apple's moral defense shield? As Vaughan puts it:

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 https://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?

Also, if you're a Comixology user, you can likely purchase the comic via the non-Apple web interface and have it show up on your iPad when you sync your purchases.

Point number four is rather relevant, as Apple is rather open about the low regard in which it holds every medium that is not literature or music. To quote the company's App Store submission guidelines:

We view apps different than books or songs, which we do not curate. If you want to criticize a religion, write a book. If you want to describe sex, write a book or a song, or create a medical app. It can get complicated, but we have decided to not allow certain kinds of content in the App Store.

Source: Image Comics Tumblr

Permalink

The big question is this, did they ban it due to gay sex or just due to sex?

Xan Krieger:
The big question is this, did they ban it due to gay sex or just due to sex?

Probably sex since Apple has a massive issue with pornography.

CrossLOPER:

Xan Krieger:
The big question is this, did they ban it due to gay sex or just due to sex?

Probably sex since Apple has a massive issue with pornography.

Well then there's not much of an issue here, just normal censorship that I think we're all used to.

Xan Krieger:
The big question is this, did they ban it due to gay sex or just due to sex?

I answered that in the third paragraph. Saga is FULL of sex.

Xan Krieger:
Well then there's not much of an issue here, just normal censorship that I think we're all used to.

Well it goes to show how mature Apple thinks it audience is if a couple of panels of dude sex cause the entire thing to be flushed.

Grey Carter:

Xan Krieger:
The big question is this, did they ban it due to gay sex or just due to sex?

I answered that in the third paragraph. Saga is FULL of sex.

You mentioned sexual characters but not two characters...doing it so to speak. Boobs and gore I guess are OK based on what you wrote but the line is drawn at penetration.

Xan Krieger:

Grey Carter:

Xan Krieger:
The big question is this, did they ban it due to gay sex or just due to sex?

I answered that in the third paragraph. Saga is FULL of sex.

You mentioned sexual characters but not two characters...doing it so to speak. Boobs and gore I guess are OK based on what you wrote but the line is drawn at penetration.

The planet is called "Sextillion" What do you think happens there?

I mostly use IDW and Comixology for my comic purchases, so I'm not sure if this is par for the course with Apple. If they were to do the same with a comic featuring hetero sex, then I'd simply say this is just a matter of (frankly) constrictive censorship rules (if they were to put age warnings like they do for music and movies then it probably wouldn't be a big deadl) If, however, they are pretty lax with hetero sex being depicted but get uppity with homo, then frankly that's just stupid. If anything, can't they just be consistent?

captcha: banana stand

I'm not sure whether to make a sexual euphemism or an Arrested Development joke, you decide

Grey Carter:

Xan Krieger:

Grey Carter:

I answered that in the third paragraph. Saga is FULL of sex.

You mentioned sexual characters but not two characters...doing it so to speak. Boobs and gore I guess are OK based on what you wrote but the line is drawn at penetration.

The planet is called "Sextillion" What do you think happens there?

*jaw hits the floor*
WTF AM I LOOKING AT?! Now I understand Apple's decision.

Xan Krieger:

Grey Carter:

Xan Krieger:
You mentioned sexual characters but not two characters...doing it so to speak. Boobs and gore I guess are OK based on what you wrote but the line is drawn at penetration.

The planet is called "Sextillion" What do you think happens there?

*jaw hits the floor*
WTF AM I LOOKING AT?! Now I understand Apple's decision.

That is issue four. Which is not banned.

Grey Carter:

The planet is called "Sextillion" What do you think happens there?

Eh, OGLAF has numbed me to such displays.

Grey Carter:

That is issue four. Which is not banned.

OK, so apparently it is dude sex that rustles their jimmies.

We view apps different than books or songs, which we do not curate. If you want to criticize a religion, write a book. If you want to describe sex, write a book or a song, or create a medical app. It can get complicated, but we have decided to not allow certain kinds of content in the App Store.

Except... He DID write a book. Cowards.

Grey Carter:

Xan Krieger:
The big question is this, did they ban it due to gay sex or just due to sex?

I answered that in the third paragraph. Saga is FULL of sex.

So there ARE straight sex scenes depicted within? You only stated there were references to it

Grey Carter:

Xan Krieger:

Grey Carter:

The planet is called "Sextillion" What do you think happens there?

*jaw hits the floor*
WTF AM I LOOKING AT?! Now I understand Apple's decision.

That is issue four. Which is not banned.

I was just about go get ice cream but I think I lost my appetite, thanks Grey.

Xan Krieger:
I was just about go get ice cream but I think I lost my appetite, thanks Grey.

I got hungrier.

What is wrong with me?...

Well considering the scene that you linked was allowed but somehow it suddenly isn't when it's two guys doing the same sort of thing, just seems rather wrong by Apple to not allow it. I can see them taking quite a bit of heat about this decision

Eternal_Lament:

captcha: banana stand

I'm not sure whether to make a sexual euphemism or an Arrested Development joke, you decide

Why not both? :D

image

Honestly i AM against censorship, but after seeing few images of Saga 12...Well...This comic looks just stupid.
I like how you catalogue it as 'Adult' material and not Mature,as the material itself is about as 'mature' as an 8 year old...Still...Just...Why make this.

PLEASE READ MY OTHER COMMENTS BEFORE QUOTING ME AGAIN OR I'LL JUST DELETE THIS COMMENT AND ALL THE OTHER ONES.

If anyone is curious enough to want to see the supposed offending images, google "Preview: Saga #12", first result, first two panels. I'd post a link but I suspect that isn't the best idea.

As for the images themselves, they're pretty freaking gay, though considering the rest of the comic they shouldn't really stand out that much.

You know. When a birth scene, eternal haunting spirits, what I presume are massive amounts of adult themes and gore are all okay.

But when the word sex, leaving aside the gay for now, gets mentioned all buttholes in the Apple Cabal clench up.

You see we seem to have this issue with sex. Quite possibly the best thing ever since masturbating and yet it is ranked above gore and death in the things we don't want children to see. I could take a child to a slaughterhouse, not for that purpose you sick people, to watch how his delicious steak gets made whilst possibly running the risk of turning him into a pussy vegan and nobody would bat a fucking eye...

But when I tell him that people with dicks like to stick that dick into holes and people with vagina's enjoy putting tings into them or rubbing them I get tackled by a veritable football team of censors before I defile this innocent child's mind. Mind you this "child" is 17 years old and probably has first hand experience. Whilst they are possibly massively colossal assholes in any other regard I do think that the kids are ready to hear where babies come from.

Grey Carter:

Xan Krieger:

Grey Carter:

I answered that in the third paragraph. Saga is FULL of sex.

You mentioned sexual characters but not two characters...doing it so to speak. Boobs and gore I guess are OK based on what you wrote but the line is drawn at penetration.

The planet is called "Sextillion" What do you think happens there?

... I kind of fail to see the big deal here. I'd have to go digging, but I'm pretty sure "Transmetropolitan" and "The Invisibles" both have stuff just as bad as those images in them, especially the former with it's recurring "Sex Puppets" ads (an ongoing joke) and the like. Things like the DC Vertigo imprint have been pushing stuff like this for a very long time. If any of their stuff is availible for purchuse the same way, there are some good reasons to question this. I have a Kindle: Fire personally, and last time I went shopping for digital comics those titles seemed to be there (though I didn't purchuse them as I have hardcopy TPB editions of the complete runs of those series).

At any rate, if I had to make an educated guess as to what the problem is, it's probably that there isn't much in the way of security to prevent children from buying or viewing these things (the kindle doesn't seem to have much). Apple seems to be trying for a very "family friendly" approach.... combined with someone probably complaining about that comic in paticular, which would have put Apple in an awkward position.

Overall it smacks of bureaucracy to me given that this series had been being carried this long (haven't read it personally, but I'm going to find out more about it, to see if it has anything going for it other than disturbing imagery). Oddly, while I'm pretty reactionary I'd imagine the best thing in this case is just to let it go... if you do things will probably just quietly revert back to normal after whomever made the complaint has shut up and stopped caring or paying attention. By being loud and making complaints it raises more questions, gets more attention, and puts more pressure on Apple to worry about content and security than they otherwise would when the other side gets involved. That's going to lead to either Apple going to town with a fine toothed comb over the long term, or trying to impose so much security that your not going to be able to buy a comic online without sending photocopied ID, dental records, and DNA samples, while agreeing to wear an electrified bomb collar Apple can set off on a whim in case of aberrant behavior.

l3o2828:
Honestly i AM against censorship, but after seeing few images of Saga 12...Well...This comic looks just stupid.
I like how you catalogue it as 'Adult' material and not Mature,as the material itself is about as 'mature' as an 8 year old...Still...Just...Why make this.

Kinda' clenching my fists here. I'd suggest you read the comic before passing judgement. It's about growing up, becoming a parent and accepting loss. It's genuinely brilliant.

I know we're supposed to have common sense, but you should probably NSFW tag that (even though yall really should stop reading this at work)

I can't condone sexual censorship unless it's something violent and illegal. 18+ rating exists for a reason.

Grey Carter:

l3o2828:
Honestly i AM against censorship, but after seeing few images of Saga 12...Well...This comic looks just stupid.
I like how you catalogue it as 'Adult' material and not Mature,as the material itself is about as 'mature' as an 8 year old...Still...Just...Why make this.

Kinda' clenching my fists here. I'd suggest you read the comic before passing judgement. It's about growing up, becoming a parent and accepting loss. It's genuinely brilliant.

I've got to back you up on this. I was quite impressed with Saga. Granted, it has some surprising imagery and it certainly is different than much of what I usually read, but the story is outstanding! The writing is superb and even the visuals work once you start reading it. It's a shame Apple is giving this one a hard time. It is one of the more original comics I have read in a while and well worth checking out.

l3o2828:
Why make this.

Why make anything?

I'm not a reader of this series, but the "It looks stupid, why makes this" comment REEKS of ignorance. Literature shouldn't be censored, even if you think it's "stupid".

I also agree with Grey, read it first at the very least.

Grey Carter:

l3o2828:
Honestly i AM against censorship, but after seeing few images of Saga 12...Well...This comic looks just stupid.
I like how you catalogue it as 'Adult' material and not Mature,as the material itself is about as 'mature' as an 8 year old...Still...Just...Why make this.

Kinda' clenching my fists here. I'd suggest you read the comic before passing judgement. It's about growing up, becoming a parent and accepting loss. It's genuinely brilliant.

Alright, Mr.Carter...I will give this a read eventually.
My hands are currently too full, as i began reading some Sci-fi 'Classics' Such as the first 3 Dune novels, Ender's Game...That and college doesn't even let me progress on that...i'm not sure why i'm saying this.

ellers07:

Grey Carter:

l3o2828:
Honestly i AM against censorship, but after seeing few images of Saga 12...Well...This comic looks just stupid.
I like how you catalogue it as 'Adult' material and not Mature,as the material itself is about as 'mature' as an 8 year old...Still...Just...Why make this.

Kinda' clenching my fists here. I'd suggest you read the comic before passing judgement. It's about growing up, becoming a parent and accepting loss. It's genuinely brilliant.

I've got to back you up on this. I was quite impressed with Saga. Granted, it has some surprising imagery and it certainly is different than much of what I usually read, but the story is outstanding! The writing is superb and even the visuals work once you start reading it. It's a shame Apple is giving this one a hard time. It is one of the more original comics I have read in a while and well worth checking out.

Thanks for the recommendation! I'm going to head down to the shop tomorrow and check it out. I haven't even heard of this comic until now, but I really want to read it.

Waaghpowa:

l3o2828:
Why make this.

Why make anything?

I'm not a reader of this series, but the "It looks stupid, why makes this" comment REEKS of ignorance. Literature shouldn't be censored, even if you think it's "stupid".

I also agree with Grey, read it first at the very least.

If you read my comment, i make a point that I AM Against censorship in any form. But i have a hard time feeling bad about it when a work seems to reek of misguided pretention to maturity by adding tons of sex, T&A and gore....But heck, if people tell me that the actual content is well written and compelling, i will give it a try if just to form an opinion on something that doesn't seem to be marginally and globally disliked and MIGHT be good.

**head-desk**

Wow. Apple, really? You have no problem with the rest of that, but a little gay sex and you're all offended?

Whatever. I won't buy your products anyway - this just gives me one more reason.

Also... why have I never heard of this comic before? Must now read backlog.

l3o2828:
Honestly i AM against censorship, but after seeing few images of Saga 12...Well...This comic looks just stupid.
I like how you catalogue it as 'Adult' material and not Mature,as the material itself is about as 'mature' as an 8 year old...Still...Just...Why make this.

Read the comic. Void the old cliché you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, Saga is one of the best comics currently out there and just because it's liberal with sex doesn't mean it's all about sex and doesn't detract from the narrative, some of the best things out there are liberal with sex, a song of ice and fire/game of thrones, breaking bad both good things that don't shy away from sex or make it a big deal but use it as part of the narrative. Sex is a part of life, even the freaky shit.

OT: I'm concerned about this because the problem doesn't seem to be the sex scene, since Saga has plenty of sex scenes, but more the fact it's a gay sex scene and if the reason is that it's a gay sex then apple seriously need to rethink their ways because that is sickening. Saga has a lot of weird things in it and gay sex isn't weird in the first place and no where near as weird as anything else that happens in Saga.

Grey Carter:
Snip

WHY DO WE NOT HAVE MORE COMIC BOOK NEWS?!

Grey Carter:

Well, I know what my nightmares for the next week will be.

I haven't read the comic -- maybe I will and maybe I won't in the future -- but Apple's censorship has always irritated me. While I understand they need to protect minors from seeing this material, due to laws and all that good stuff, there is a reason for parental locks is there not? Apple seems to just define, sometimes arbitrarily, what they deem "fit" to land on their App Store.

And the fact that they're banning this over "postage-size" images of gay sex? *shakes head* In all fairness, ban all the issues that contain sex so we can be equal, alright?

After all this, I want to buy the comic at my local store, not only to show support for the people who create this but also to tell Apple that I can do without them. Not that they care yet the publishers might.

l3o2828:
Honestly i AM against censorship, but after seeing few images of Saga 12...Well...This comic looks just stupid.
I like how you catalogue it as 'Adult' material and not Mature,as the material itself is about as 'mature' as an 8 year old...Still...Just...Why make this.

Read it before you make assumptions about something taken out of context. Brian K Vaughan is one of the most bold, talented and ahead-of-his-time writers in the industry and Saga is a prime example of that.

l3o2828:

Waaghpowa:

l3o2828:
Why make this.

Why make anything?

I'm not a reader of this series, but the "It looks stupid, why makes this" comment REEKS of ignorance. Literature shouldn't be censored, even if you think it's "stupid".

I also agree with Grey, read it first at the very least.

If you read my comment, i make a point that I AM Against censorship in any form. But i have a hard time feeling bad about it when a work seems to reek of misguided pretention to maturity by adding tons of sex, T&A and gore....But heck, if people tell me that the actual content is well written and compelling, i will give it a try if just to form an opinion on something that doesn't seem to be marginally and globally disliked and MIGHT be good.

Again, you haven't read it, so you're not qualified to judge it. You're example could easily be applied to something like the Game of thrones series that people hold in such high regard. To me it's just LOTR with more gore and T&A, but I don't go around saying it's misguidedly pretentious because of it.

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