(Updated with response from comic creator)
Following the author reporting
that Apple had banned an issue of an adult-oriented comic, the Cupertino manufacturer came under some fire for inconsistent application of its own standards. A new statement by ComiXology
has denied that Apple had anything to do with the ban, and the comics storefront self-censored it out of respect for what it erroneously interpreted to be Apple's policies.
In a statement issued today, ComiXology CEO David Steinberger said that the author's report of the Apple ban due to the graphic depiction of homosexual acts in two panels of Brian Vaughan's Saga #12
was not true, and clarified the sequence of events by saying that "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."
The CEO continues by adding that "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." ComiXology had a response from Apple earlier today on the story, making clear that the comic curator's interpretation of Apple's rules was incorrect, and that Apple approved the appearance of the contentious issue on the app.
The story told in the comic is described
as "surrealist Sci-Fi," telling the tale of two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending war who fall in love and have a child, then try to find a safe place for their new family. It has featured graphic depictions of violence, heterosexual sex and nudity in previous issues. All previous issues of the comic are available in Apple's iBookstore, and the latest issue will presumably appear there (and in comic apps that sell the series) shortly.
Vaughan has responded to the ComiXology CEO's statement, saying that with regard to the dispute that he "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."