Tomorrow’s Saga #12—the latest issue of Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ critically acclaimed series—won’t be available for purchase via comics-reading apps on the iPad or iPhone, because it contains images of gay sex.
That means that folks who buy and read the sci-fi adventure drama via apps like Comixology won’t be able to do so once the issue goes on sale. The images in question aren’t the focus of their respective panels—which can be seen here and here in a Comic Book Resources preview—but nevertheless Apple won’t be letting readers access it via their iDevices. Vaughan has a statement on the matter on the Tumblr page for Saga publisher Image Comics:
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/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.
Saga has featured scenes of mature content—including violent death, childbirth and heterosexual intercourse—in its pages before. But this ban is the first instance of gatekeeping that the series has experienced. A few weeks ago, a similar blockage attempted to keep Sex #1—a darkly themed comic that aims to explore superhero repression by Joe Casey and Piotr Kowalski—from Apple’s delivery system.
The same workaround that readers could use to get that issue will likely work here. If Saga #12 is bought on Comixology’s web interface, it will show up inside the dedicated Image or Comixology apps after purchases are synced on a device.
Saga’s a great series, one of the best comics being published today and it stands to reason that the people reading it—and driving its sales ever upwards—know what they’re getting in terms of content. They probably don’t need Apple to vet what they’re going to be reading. Apple has done this kind of moralistic filtering before and each time they do, the electronics giant looks a bit more out of touch with the consumers that have vaulted them to such ridiculous success.