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Apple bans Saga #12 comic for gay sex images

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Saga comic
Saga comic

Apple has banned a comic written by acclaimed writer Brian K. Vaughan for two “postage stamp-sized images of gay sex”, the author announced.

Vaughan has released a statement criticising Apple’s decision to ban the latest issue of Saga, which has always been aimed at more mature readers due to its explicit and graphic nature.

The new Saga issue was due to be released this week and featured two small images depicting gay sex acts displayed on the TV set head of one of the characters, Prince Robot IV, when he is lying injured on a battleground.

“As has hopefully been clear from the first page of our first issue, Saga is a series for the proverbial ‘mature reader’,” said writer Brian K. Vaughn in a statement on his publisher’s Tumblr page. “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 [Staples, Saga’s artist] 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”.

The science fiction comic book series follows the story of new parents, Marko and Alana, struggling to raise their newborn child in the midst of a galactic war, and often features graphically violent images. Charlie Jane Anders at sci-fi site io9 described Saga content as often featuring “some intense stuff, including straight sex, bloody violence and child birth.”

Despite Apple having a strict anti-porn policy in its App Store, the iPhone 5 manufacturer has still faced a backlash of criticism for its decision to ban the sale of Saga #12. The Saga series has already featured other sexual content including bare breasts and situations that include child prostitution, but Apple has not previously banned the comic or required Vaughn to make changes.

Due to this, the books industry has been very vocal about the ban, calling the move “homophobic”. The New Statesman said previous issues of the comic featured “larger issues of heterosexual orgies”, which were allowed to pass through Apple’s selective filters.

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