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Digital comic blocked over ‘tiny porno images’ depicting gay sex

Content distributor says it misinterpreted Apple's policies
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
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Updated, see below.

ComiXology, a digital comics distribution platform, has blocked the latest edition of a digital comic called “Saga” from being sold through comic book apps on the iPad and iPhone because it contained two scenes depicting gay sex.

The images at issue are two “tiny porno images on a robot’s face-screen,” SAGA illustrator Fiona Staples told a Washington Post blogger, something she said she didn’t think anyone “outside our readership would notice or care.”

The two images in question show penises at the critical moment of a sex act as reflected in the faceplate of one of the characters.

From SAGA #12, Image Comics

In a post on his blog, SAGA author Brian K. Vaughan said it has “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.

Explicit adult content is banned under Apple’s terms and conditions, but previous issues of SAGA have been granted access to the App Store, despite having similar content, said Vaughan.

Update: An earlier version of this report indicated that Apple was responsible for blocking SAGA, based on an account by Saga’s creators.

Macworld provides this update:

Apple confirmed to Macworld later on Wednesday that it did not block Saga #12, and Comixology CEO David Steinberger subsequently took responsibility in a post on the company’s blog:

“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 added, “our interpretation of (Apple’s) policies was mistaken” and that Saga #12 would be available via the Comixology app soon.

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