Last month readers were confused when the latest series from Image, SEX, was not available for download from leading digital comic provider comiXology’s iOS app. It eventually came out that Apple had banned the sale of the comic due to its sexual nature and the tech giant is back at it this week by banning Saga #12 from Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Stapes. Take the jump to read what the writer had to say in response.
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 shit.
Apologies to everyone who reads our series on iPads or iPhones, but here are your alternatives for Wednesday:
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?
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.
After reading what Brian said I quickly pulled up the advanced issue of Saga #12 that Image sent over to Major Spoilers to try and find the images in question. I expected to see a full-page spread of graphic sexual acts (even more sexual than what has been previously featured in the series), but after two hyper speed click throughs I couldn’t find any images that would warrant a banning. I eventually did find the two images, located at the very beginning of the issue, after being more thorough with my looking, but this should speak volumes about this ban. Yes, the images are adult and explicit in nature but certainly not right in your face as much as previous banned title SEX #1, and readers of Saga will certainly not be surprised considering male genitalia have been shown before.
Like Vaughn says in his message, digital comic readers can still purchase Saga #12 through the comiXology website and then download to your various iDevices, and as Skullkickers writer Jim Zubb showed in his series on the economics of creator-owned titles, purchasing comics through the website front will result in more money for the creators because Apple doesn’t take 30% of the sale this way.
Which is why Apple banning Saga is confusing from an economical standpoint seeing as Saga is continually in the Top 10 comics sold every week it releases. Is the amount lost an incredibly small part of the entirety of what Apple brings in on even a daily basis? Sure, but if readers are going to have to buy Saga from the comiXology website, what’s to stop them from purchasing the rest of their reading from there this week?
Digital comics is still a new market that is going to continue to evolve hit road blocks like this and with every one brick and mortar stores can simply smile and hopefully watch as readers come back into their stores.