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.
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.
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.