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Comic Book App Comixology Holds Off On Publishing Comic Depicting Graphic Gay Sex Fearing Apple Would Ban It

Image Comics

ComiXology, an app that lets you download digital comics to smartphones and tablets, decided not to publish an issue of the comic book "Saga" because it thought Apple wouldn't approve of a graphic depiction of gay sex.

The news comes from the comic's writer Brian K. Vaughn in a statement on his publisher's Tumblr page:

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.

Vaughn is a very popular comic book writer, and he's well respected in the industry. He's responsible for some awesome graphic novels like "Y: The Last Man" and several titles in the Marvel universe.

But there's some mixed messaging here. ComiXology later came out with a statement that said it decided not to publish the issue because it thought Apple would ban it. ComiXology said Apple did not actively ban the issue.

Here's the statement:

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. Vaughn and Image Comics for any confusion this may have caused.

Apple has a strict anti-porn policy in its App Store, but has a record of being consistently inconsistent in the way it enforces its rules.

Earlier this year, a lot of sexually graphic content appeared on Twitter's new video-sharing app Vine, but Apple didn't pull the app. Instead, Vine was allowed to quickly push out updates that made it difficult for users to find porn on the service.

But Apple hasn't been so lenient with other apps. It removed a popular photo-sharing app called 500px and another video app called Viddy for the same reason. Both 500px and Viddy were allowed to return top the App Store after making changes that helped filter out pornographic content.

An earlier version of this story stated that Apple banned the comic. That information was based on Vaughn's blog post. The story has been changed to reflect ComiXology's statement.

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