The Washington Post

UPDATE: ComiXology says that it — and not Apple — blocked sale of ‘SAGA’ #12

ON TUESDAY, ComiXology told Comic Riffs that it could not comment on the controversial “banned” sale of the new ‘SAGA.’

On Wednesday, ComiXology decided to clear up matters — especially after Apple was the company that was taking the heat.

“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,” ComiXology President David Steinberger said Wednesday afternoon in a statement.

From 'SAGA’ #12. (courtesy of IMAGE COMICS )

“As a partner of Apple, we have an obligation to respect its policies for apps and the books offered in apps,” Steinberger, who co-founded ComiXology, said in Wednesday’s statement. “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.”

(The publisher, Image Comics, was among those Tuesday who believed that Apple was responsible for the rejection, saying in a statement: “We regret that Apple won’t allow us to sell ‘SAGA’ #12 on the Image Comics app, but that is Apple’s decision and it would be inappropriate for us to tell another company how to run its business.”)

Steinberger indicates in his statement that ComiXology heard from Apple on Wednesday morning, and that his company misinterpreted Apple’s policies. (Apple has not returned Comic Riffs’ calls seeking comment.)

Amid ComiXology’s reversal, ‘SAGA’ #12 is now available via iOS apps; sale of the new issue was never blocked on ComiXology’s website.

The result today is apologies all around.

ComiXology said that it apologizes “to Saga creator Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples and Image Comics for any confusion this may have caused.”

“I wanted to apologize to everyone for this entire Saga #12 kerfuffle,” Vaughan told The Verge. “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.”

Vaughan adds that he never suspected homophobia in the decision — just “weirdly inconsistent” decision-making over mature content.

“I'm grateful that the situation was cleared up so quickly,” Vaughan told The Verge, “and I'm delighted I can go back to reading smutty comics on my Retina Display iPad.”

Writer/artist/visual storyteller Michael Cavna is creator of the "Comic Riffs" column and graphic-novel reviewer for The Post's Book World. He relishes sharp-eyed satire in most any form.
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