Update: SAGA is Too Gay For Apple; They Also Hate French People

This article was published yesterday, please read the update at the botton.  The original article is still an interesting and funny read:

Warning: The following article is for “Mature Audiences”.  But if Apple wants to ban us “we’re not changing shit”!

If a picture is worth a thousand words; Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples have the money shot.  Freakin genius Brian K Vaughan announced today that the latest issue of Saga will not be released digitally by Apple due to mature content, AKA “two postage-sized images of gay sex.”

Saga is a critically acclaimed, fan-favorite sci-fi series that in the past has featured orgies, child prostitution, and crap-loads of blood and death.  Vaughan has never claimed Saga to be an all ages title; Saga is meant for “mature audiences”.

The first issue included a heterosexual couple having graphic sex with the woman stating “I want you deep, baby!”.  Issue four featured a lesbian sex orgy, an everybody sex orgy, 69ing and a dominatrix.  The images in issue 12 are super small, appearing on the television head of Prince Robot IV. So why is this issue being banned?  Is it too gay for Apple?

Censored image of the first controversial page

Last week, Apple banned 1500 French comics on the Izneo comics app for being “pornographic for Americans”.  What exactly was considered pornography was not specified, but they pulled any comic “revealing a breast, causing cleavage, curve, or evoking a suggestive gesture”.  So why were these issues being banned?  Were they too French for Apple?

It does seem like a weird time for Apple to decide to censor a homosexual sex scene when they have never censored Saga in the past.  I question if this is not just bad timing, but my gut reaction feels this is blatant homophobia.

Censored image of the second page

Luckily, you can still purchase the comic through the Image and Android apps, as well as the old fashion newsprint edition from your local comic shop!

To see the uncensored images click here and here:

Please read the following press release because its awesomeness cannot be measured:

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,


Update: It turns out Apple did not ban Saga #12, Comixology CEO David Steinberger did not release the title due to believing that it broke Apple’s policy.  He was wrong, and because of his decision half the internet called Apple homophobic.  Here is his press release:

To our customers –

In the last 24 hours there has been a lot of chatter about Apple banning Saga #12 from our Comics App on the Apple App Store due to depictions of gay sex. This is simply not true, and we’d like to clarify.

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.

We did not interpret the content in question as involving any particular sexual orientation, and frankly that would have been a completely irrelevant consideration under any circumstance.

Given this, it should be clear that Apple did not reject Saga #12.

After hearing from Apple this morning, we can say that our interpretation of its policies was mistaken. You’ll be glad to know that Saga #12 will be available on our App Store app soon.

We apologize to Saga creator Brian K. Vaughan and Image Comics for any confusion this may have caused.

All the best,

David Steinberger
CEO and co-founder

Here is Brian K. Vaughan’s statement:

I wanted to apologize to everyone for this entire SAGA #12 kerfuffle. Yesterday, I was mistakenly led to believe that this issue was solely with Apple, but it’s now clear that it was only ever Comixology too conservatively interpreting Apple’s rules. I’m truly sorry. I never thought either company was being homophobic, only weirdly inconsistent about what kind of adult material was permissible. I’m grateful that the situation was cleared up so quickly, and I’m delighted I can go back to reading smutty comics on my Retina Display iPad.

–Brian K. Vaughan


Jay Deitcher, LMSW(@mrdeitcher) embraces the term MUTANT and proudly represents his MUTANT brothers and sisters.  He is an educator on comic history and runs successful Free Comic Book Day events yearly.  You can see a listing of his incredible articles and his highly energetic videos here.

Jay Deitcher is a writer and licensed social worker from Albany, NY. He is currently taking MFA courses at the College of St. Rose. You can read his other work at JayDeitcher.com.
  • http://twitter.com/FizzyToms Thomas Street

    That is utter madness. Given that there are security settings available on iPads, and other Apple products, I’ll be damned if they should control what we can put on them in this way. The more time passes,mother less I like Apple. Not least for reactionary pandering censorship like this. Unsurprisingly it is Gay sex that causes the issue. Is it somehow dirtier, or more explicit than straight sex? No. It’s quasi-religious discrimination.

    Big Brother is watching indeed.