Comixology Dropped Saga #12, Not Apple

Comixology Dropped Saga #12, Not Apple

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Someone's still being inconsistent when it comes to depictions of sex, but it ain't Apple.

Here's an awkward situation to be in; I, and a handful of other journalists floating around the nerd sphere, owe Apple an apology. Contrary to earlier reports and the claims of writer, Brian K. Vaughan, Apple did not ban, remove or censor Saga #12. According to a recent announcement from Comixology, the decision to withhold the comic from sale on Apple channels was made internally. I did have a big fat "according to" in the middle of my original piece, but like many, I took Vaughan at his word ("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"), and it appears he was either lying or misinformed. I'm sorry for perpetuating a bogus story.

Comixology CEO, David Steinberger's, full statement courtesy of the Comixology blog:

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

That being said, the decision is still arbitrary and perhaps even discriminatory. Comixology did not block any previous issues of Saga from the Apple store, even though they featured arguably more graphic sex scenes. Issue twelve was dropped because of two "stamp-sized" depictions of male gay sex (appearing on the face of a character with a TV monitor for a head), while issue four's giant, page-spanning depiction of (spoiler: this link is totally NSFW) an all-female flying orgy (end NSFW) was deemed acceptable. There are double standards at play, they're just not Apple's.

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Well it's still just as wrong that this is happening. Although judging by the lack of comments (at least compared to yesterday when it was Apple's fault), seemingly nowhere near as noteworthy, which is rather disappointing. It shouldn't be fine just because somebody who isn't Apple is doing it =/

there's actually an agreed upon line in sexual depictions where an act becomes porn I believe. Deviant art for example has a set of very strictly imposed rules governing this.

Now none of this represents my personal opinion (in fact I prefer to stay indifferent on the matter) but from what I've seen, a depiction of a primary sexual organ engaging in a sexual activity is where the line is usually drawn. Depictions of breasts or flaccid penises are mostly alright. An erect ejaculating penis is not, an explicit image of penetration or fellatio are not either.

I never read the comic so I can't say this for sure but if this is the rule set they were going with (once again, can't say whether the rule set is necessarily correct, that is for you to decide), based on the pictures you have provided, I wouldn't really see a double standard. That is unless there are depictions of actual penetration or similar images of fellatio but given out by female characters elsewhere within the comic. Then the issue would be quite clear.

Where I wanted to get by saying this, is that they actually have a standard, however convoluted a standard it may appear to be.

Nice of them to assume Apple was a bunch of homophobes.

Assuming Apple to be the bad actor is de rigueur. Nowhere in the initial stories is there even a mention of attempts to contact Apple or Comixology for comment or confirmation. Journalists running the story and hiding behind "according to", rather than contacting the principals seem to be lazy. That, and anything with an Apple headline (especially negative) is great link bait.

I think the best part here is I already saw everything I need to of the comic (thanks for the nightmares Grey). As for the rest of the topic, well...I guess it's for the best that nobody sees that stuff, fewer people having horrible nightmares.

Whoever banned it its still wrong to say regular sex(and i use that term loosely due to what the comic was portraying) is ok but we draw the line at man on man. Its like the guys that go we hate homos but love lesbo porn its hypocrisy at its worst.

So, am I the only one reading this article seeing the part where Comixology is saying that they did this because it is their "responsibility to respect the rules and guidelines" of their partners at Apple? That is to say that this was, in fact, a result of the highly arbitrary and ridiculous rules that Apple places on anything they sell by way of Comixology adhering to those rules proactively... rather than Apple retroactively removing it from their store?

In the end, it sounds more to me like they just wanted to avoid the press of having Apple actually ban it than that they were trying to apply their own set of arbitrary rules against the comic because it contained a couple pictures of gay sex. Controversy averted, they probably thought, until of course their preemptive action resulted in a bunch journalists rushing in to blame Apple for the 'banning' anyway.

In summary... bad journalism created the very same controversy that Comixology was trying to avoid by simply adhering to Apple's hyper-sensitive ruleset.

Damned if you do. Damned if you don't.

So find the culprit who thinks only heterosexual sex is okay and fire him please, or Comixology will forever wear the label as a hateful and repressive company.

Kudos for actually admitting you done goofed, Grey. A lot of people these days seem incapable of doing that, particularly in the gaming industry. That's all I really have to say on this matter, as I don't want to be involved in a sexuality thread at this time.

Wait, so... did Comixology think the image was inappropriate, or did they think that Apple would think so? I feel like there are still some missing pieces in this picture of exactly who did what and why. Or maybe I just missed something.

Also... I'd already added the first graphic novel to my Amazon wishlist on the description from the previous article alone. However, lesbian angel with strap-ons having an orgy... yeah, I need to own this comic.

Johny_X2:
there's actually an agreed upon line in sexual depictions where an act becomes porn I believe. Deviant art for example has a set of very strictly imposed rules governing this.

Now none of this represents my personal opinion (in fact I prefer to stay indifferent on the matter) but from what I've seen, a depiction of a primary sexual organ engaging in a sexual activity is where the line is usually drawn. Depictions of breasts or flaccid penises are mostly alright. An erect ejaculating penis is not, an explicit image of penetration or fellatio are not either.

I never read the comic so I can't say this for sure but if this is the rule set they were going with (once again, can't say whether the rule set is necessarily correct, that is for you to decide), based on the pictures you have provided, I wouldn't really see a double standard. That is unless there are depictions of actual penetration or similar images of fellatio but given out by female characters elsewhere within the comic. Then the issue would be quite clear.

Where I wanted to get by saying this, is that they actually have a standard, however convoluted a standard it may appear to be.

Sorry but if female on female cunnilingus, strap-ons, implied penetration along with BDSM is allowed (there's a panel with some alien chick using a whip on a pillar of guys.) then I find it hard to believe that erect male penis and male on male fellatio is not allowed based on sexual imagery and not discriminatory grounds.

Elate:

Johny_X2:
there's actually an agreed upon line in sexual depictions where an act becomes porn I believe. Deviant art for example has a set of very strictly imposed rules governing this.

Now none of this represents my personal opinion (in fact I prefer to stay indifferent on the matter) but from what I've seen, a depiction of a primary sexual organ engaging in a sexual activity is where the line is usually drawn. Depictions of breasts or flaccid penises are mostly alright. An erect ejaculating penis is not, an explicit image of penetration or fellatio are not either.

I never read the comic so I can't say this for sure but if this is the rule set they were going with (once again, can't say whether the rule set is necessarily correct, that is for you to decide), based on the pictures you have provided, I wouldn't really see a double standard. That is unless there are depictions of actual penetration or similar images of fellatio but given out by female characters elsewhere within the comic. Then the issue would be quite clear.

Where I wanted to get by saying this, is that they actually have a standard, however convoluted a standard it may appear to be.

Sorry but if female on female cunnilingus, strap-ons, implied penetration along with BDSM is allowed (there's a panel with some alien chick using a whip on a pillar of guys.) then I find it hard to believe that erect male penis and male on male fellatio is not allowed based on sexual imagery and not discriminatory grounds.

well yeah but I guess there's a difference between implied and explicitly portrayed, isn't there?

Johny_X2:
well yeah but I guess there's a difference between implied and explicitly portrayed, isn't there?

Depends what you consider implied, it was a guy doing at some fat woman from behind.. Either way, the rest still stands. Even if it turns out that the rest falls under the rules, those rules need some serious looking over.

Elate:

Johny_X2:
well yeah but I guess there's a difference between implied and explicitly portrayed, isn't there?

Depends what you consider implied, it was a guy doing at some fat woman from behind.. Either way, the rest still stands. Even if it turns out that the rest falls under the rules, those rules need some serious looking over.

It's a weird issue, isn't it? I mean I can sort of see where they're coming from but I can't exactly rationalise it. I mean, there's got to be a reason why the line is drawn where it is, right..?

I don't know. I really don't want to form an opinion on this unless I can clearly see the rationale behind it. It seems kind of arbitrary as standards go but I guess it's better than no line being drawn at all..?

I'm fairly certain I've seen a preview of a comic from the same publisher that had a low-quality but still pretty explicit picture of a man being anally penetrated by a transsexual woman who, after the act, told him he now had aids. Followed by several pages of other couples engaging in various sexual activities, all portrayed directly. So there goes the standard I guess.

Andy Shandy:
Well it's still just as wrong that this is happening. Although judging by the lack of comments (at least compared to yesterday when it was Apple's fault), seemingly nowhere near as noteworthy, which is rather disappointing. It shouldn't be fine just because somebody who isn't Apple is doing it =/

And that is what is almost ALWAYS the case. Apple is always held to the fire, but no other company is held to the fire, for even the same or worse infraction. Even worse is that it almost always then goes around to becoming a justification to also lob hatred and ad hominem attacks at those of us who purchase Apple products and enjoy using them, which honestly is the only reason I ever respond to the Apple-hate in the first place. If people just said "I just don't like Apple" and left it at that, I wouldn't care, but they almost always try to tag BS reasoning to their dislike and then further twist it into a reason to attack users of Apple products.

Basically, Apple is the favored target for hate and link-baiting; consistent, valid logic and accurate factual evidence almost never have any place in the discussion. If Apple does wrong, the web explodes with Apple-hate. If someone else does wrong, there is first a collective "meh", and then the web explodes with Apple-hate by somehow indirectly pinning the blame on Apple.

Even so, as I posted on the previous article, I think the content should be allowed, just properly labeled and segmented so that people that are indulgent in that sort of thing can find it, and those that are not indulgent will know to stay away. Personal responsibility. At the very least, if a line is going to be drawn, it should be done so consistently and with minimal ambiguity.

So...basically...the company thought Apple would reject it based on their policies...but it turns out they didn't, so it's all good? Ironically, it seems to me that the big companies here were in the right for once, while the journalists and artist himself were not.

"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."

How are you still claiming that the gay images are why they did it? Where is any documentation saying that is why? Your initial article was wrong on all points because you took Vaughn at his word and he though Apple did it. Since it wasn't even Apple then he clearly didn't get any actual correspondence.

Lightknight:
"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."

How are you still claiming that the gay images are why they did it? Where is any documentation saying that is why? Your initial article was wrong on all points because you took Vaughn at his word and he though Apple did it. Since it wasn't even Apple then he clearly didn't get any actual correspondence.

There isn't inconsistency in their actions, this single issue was VERY different in content from previous ones:
Here is what we see happen in this issue for this scene, panel by panel (Mods, please moderate my post in any way you see fit and please quickly inform me if I am overstepping any line. My only intention is clarification here):

Panel 1 (I may get these out of order or miss one, still from memory again): There's the scene linked in the original post. Lots of breasts, explicit oral sex, and a strap-on.
Panel 2: He's at the bottom of the same stairs where there is an orgy and a few other sexual positions including an image of actual heterosexual penetration which probably did more to ban this issue than anything else.
Panel 3: I think it's a patched-up Barney with a strap-on. I missed that the first time around.
Panel 4: Multi-breasted centipede woman.
Panel 5: Six nude males in a human pyramid with their genitalia in plain sight while being whipped by a woman.
Panel 6: A threesome (two guys pleasing one giant woman). This probably also did more to ban the comic than the other ones.
A few panels afterwards a 6-year old girl is asked if she's decent to which she responds "Anything but" and then she (fully clothed and innocent looking) is offered to this character. After which the point of all this is revealed and the story continues to its regularly scheduled broadcast.

This issue is not just a little more than the previous issues where a sex scene between a married couple is in one place and breasts are shown elsewhere, it's a TON more sexual explicitness. I didn't include the all-leg and head women as there's nothing nude or sexually explicit about them.

If you've read the series, and you appear to have, how can you equate this issue to having no more sexual content than the others? Please understand that your first article made two incorrect assumptions based on Vaughn's statement. That Apple did this AND that the reason were two specific images. Can you confirm this second claim that came from the same faulty source?

The issue you keep referencing was not the issue that was pulled. The sextillion scene was in issue four.

The artwork looks kinda bad from what that nsfw link had to show.....

looks choppy and messy imo

JarinArenos:
The issue you keep referencing was not the issue that was pulled. The sextillion scene was in issue four.

Whoa... I saw the picture and thought that's what they were talking about... like it was just a typical trade formatting that removes the original issue distinction. Blocking issue 4 would have actually been understandable.

So, you mean to tell me that they allowed that issue to get through and blocked something afterwards? Hah! I can't imagine that anything could ever be close to that issue as far as graphically. It'd have to be around the same level at most.

Was there something else in issue 15? Was there anything that was particularly more graphic than the things I listed? If not, then that list should be percieved as extreme evidence that they ARE being inconsistent.

Was the same company in charge of this for issue 4 as they are now? Did they get in trouble for that issue? I mean, damn. I've edited my previous posts so as not to mislead people who haven't read the series into thinking this block was legitimate regarding an extremely explicit issue and just one that had a trivial amount by comparison.

I don't think anybody got in trouble for anything up until this point, so it is somewhat questionable as to how this happened in the first place.

Lightknight:
So, you mean to tell me that they allowed that issue to get through and blocked something afterwards? Hah! I can't imagine that anything could ever be close to that issue as far as graphically. It'd have to be around the same level at most.

I have not yet read issue 12 (I've read the other 11, now), but I saw the images in question and they're nowhere close to issue 4's graphicness. Just a dick and a male face from two different angles. The sole unique element seems to be the depiction of male homosexuality.

JarinArenos:

Lightknight:
So, you mean to tell me that they allowed that issue to get through and blocked something afterwards? Hah! I can't imagine that anything could ever be close to that issue as far as graphically. It'd have to be around the same level at most.

I have not yet read issue 12 (I've read the other 11, now), but I saw the images in question and they're nowhere close to issue 4's graphicness. Just a dick and a male face from two different angles. The sole unique element seems to be the depiction of male homosexuality.

Yeah. I mean, once you see issue 4 there really isn't anywhere you can go from there. I simply can't believe that issue 4 wouldn't be blocked and issue 12, regardless of what's in it, could be.

Thanks for figuring out what I was misunderstanding there. Even without documentation it seems pretty blatant. But if I were to be honest I'd say they did this on purpose to get media attention and to take some sales away from Apple. I mean, holy heck did they get attention.

 

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