Saga Censorship

Saga 12
There are images in this column which are NSFW. You have been warned.

UPDATE: This issue will now be offered on iOS devices. Please see “Saga: Bigger, Longer & Uncut” for more details.

Tomorrow, Saga #12 will be released to the public, unless that public wants to read it from an Apple device.

Apple has decided to not allow Comixology or other apps on the iPhone, iPad or any other Apple based hardware to offer the newest issue. This is due to two small scenes of homosexual sex featured in the first couple of pages. Below is the first page in question.

SagaControversy1

Brian K. Vaughan has already responded, saying:

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.

Your pal,

Brian

Considering the first several pages of the previous issue Saga 11, this decision seems hypocritical at best. The series has displayed graphic male genitalia…
SagaControversy3

heterosexual sex…
SagaControversy4

and even robot sex.
SagaControversy2

Not to mention the brutal violence which decorates not just the pages of “Saga”, but so many comics which are considered widely acceptable, but are often targeted to a pre-teen and teenage audience.

It’s hard to not think that the gay elements in those two small images plays into Apple’s decision, but that is probably not true. It is more plausible that their censors do not have a strict code for what they deem pornographic or that they only consider a small sampling of material offered. Those reasons are hardly any better though.

Whether Apple’s decision is based upon homophobia, a distaste for the human body, or some unknown third factor, it is without a doubt censorship. “Saga” is one of the best artistic endeavors being offered to the mass public today. It excels on every level and never aims for controversy. This most certainly is not pornography.

Apple should be ashamed of itself for censoring art and should offer an apology. And North Korea should stop threatening to nuke things…

P.S. The good news is that you can buy this issue directly from the Comixology website and then download to your Apple device. This also ensures that Apple will see none of the revenue from the comic. I plan to purchase all of my digital comics directly from Comixology in the future, then download them to my iPad, as I have no urge to support an organization actively engaging in artistic censorship. I would encourage you to do the same.

About chasemagnett

Chase is a mild-mannered finance guy by day and a raving comics fan by night. He has been reading comics for more than half of his life (all 23 years of it). After graduating from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln with degrees in Economics and English, he has continued to research comics while writing articles and reviews online. His favorite superhero is Superman and he'll accept no other answers. Don't ask about his favorite comic unless you're ready to spend a day discussing dozens of different titles.
This entry was posted in Comics, Industry Reviews, Social Commentary and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Saga Censorship

  1. Johnnie says:

    I would like to point out that you already support Apple by owning an iPad. I understand your point and I agree with it, except for spiders. Screw spiders.

  2. Neal G says:

    Man, that is a huge drag… I’ve really enjoyed the first volume, and the maturity with which it treats its subjects is proper and adds a lot to the story.

  3. chasemagnett says:

    Johnnie, you are 100% correct that I own an iPad. I did purchase it previous to this though. At the time I thought banning pornography was a reasonable policy. However, this decision along with the decision to ban “Sex” #1 is making me reconsider. Both display graphic sexuality, but are not pornographic. They are also highly inconsistent in banning issues featuring homosexual imagery, but not those featuring heterosexual imagery.

    This is something I’ll have to consider when purchasing new hardware down the road, since I’m not better informed as to how they currently run their business.

    Apple still makes a great device and operating system, so I may continue to buy their hardware. I definitely do not want them to profit from my purchases of art though.

  4. Neal G says:

    Johnnie, I’d like to point out that simply owning an Apple product doesn’t mean Apple should be immune from scrutiny. If anything, Chase’s opinion matters more because he owns an Apple product because Apple’s choice affects the way he uses that product.

    • Johnnie says:

      I would never say that. I was being tongue in cheek, but was just pointing out that by owning an Apple product, Chase is supporting the company, regardless if when it was purchased. Now, I don’t condemn him for it, as I also own Apple products. I don’t like being a hypocrite, but I am.

      I think censorship sucks. It is nothing but a bad substitute for parenting in the end, or an excuse to make sure I am not exposed to things I find offensive. Simply put, it’s lazy.

      • chasemagnett says:

        Holy Godwin’s Law Batman, its civil discourse and understanding on the internet!

        I completely agree, Johnnie. This policy is not only vague and hypocritical, but ultimately hurts consumers. I don’t want my (hypothetical) child reading “Saga”, then that’s my responsibility.

      • Neal G says:

        Ah, right on. I have a similar issue with my own buying habits concerning EA games, but that’s another issue entirely. I understand where you are coming from. And I agree, censorship is a huge issue in entertainment media because of that parental factor. Also, sorry if my original post seemed capricious.

      • Johnnie says:

        at this point I would like to return to our regularly scheduled commenting type thing and say penis. This will help protect my hard earned reputation as a smartass.

      • chasemagnett says:

        Whew! I was worried you were going soft on me.

      • Johnnie says:

        Nice one, Chase. I am Not sure if you meant that or not but that’s funny.

  5. cr8zygurl says:

    I am a little mystified as to why this is the only issue their banning – for the reasons you mentioned above. I would be perfectly alright if they banned all of those instances, but the inconsistency is what’s getting to me.

    • chasemagnett says:

      The problem goes far beyond their decisions in Comixology too. They distribute a lot of books and films which are in many ways pornographic.

      Consistency would at least get rid of the homophobic overtones emanating from this, but the line they are trying to draw is not a clear one. They’re not doing themselves any favors by censoring artistic portrayals of the human body at all, much less in the arbitrary fashion they’ve decided upon.

  6. Anonymouse says:

    Surprised you didn’t use the most damning example of why this is so hypocritical, the roman orgy in issue 4. Considerably more graphic than any of these examples, yet also allowed by apple.

    • chasemagnett says:

      Those scenes definitely leave Apple no leeway in justifying this decision as they include penetration and everything else shown in the banned images. For this post though, I wanted to use panels that focused on the sex or genitals, rather than featuring them in the background.

  7. This makes Apple look bad. Saga makes itself look amazing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s