Censorship in Comics Continues
There is only one subject that I encroach upon being preachy and that topic is censorship. Censorship primarily in comic books, especially since that is my preferred medium. Today we learned of a brand new case of censorship in which Apple has banned the release of Saga #12, which releases tomorrow, from all apps on any Apple device (although there are workarounds).
Head past the jump to read more.
The reason behind the ban on the issue is due to two images of homosexual acts in the comic, which I may need to also inform that this is mature book and not intended for children. Funny thing is that this book has featured sex before but only now has it been banned from Apple. Why the discrepancy? In the first issue of the comic welcomes us to the failed attempt at intercourse between two aliens with TV screens for heads.
Saga is a space opera with a sort of Romeo & Juliet feel, but the most interesting part of the book is the alien culture that we get a peek into each issue. The visited worlds are not our own and their norms are not our own but they are very relatable. Scenes that appear in the book may seem strange to people but it is also a world we do not live in. How will Brian K. Vaughn introduce us to this world even further if he were limited to what he could show? In a response to the news of his book’s banning, Vaughn iterates that the images drawn by Fiona Staples are not done for shock but actually help in progressing the story.
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.
I understand that certain books are labeled as “adult only” and find trouble reaching mainstream audiences, but Saga has featured extreme violence and other sexual situations. As I have mentioned before; Saga is a book for mature readers. Hell, one of the main characters is the ghost of a teenage girl depicted by her half-torso with hanging entrails. But that has never caused reason for this book to be banned.
With further research, the “incriminating” scenes are discovered thanks to the preview over at Comic Book Resources (Warning: Images are NSFW). We are not introduced to a homosexual couple or even shown a full splash page of anything naughty. Instead the images in question display on the head of Prince Robot IV (one of those aliens with a TV head I mentioned earlier) as he lays injured and dying. The images are no larger than a postage stamp. Even if seeing those types of images are not your cup of tea, they are not obtrusive and can easily be passed over. So again, why is Saga #12 being banned? American culture, for some odd reason, has this inability to accept sexual acts in media but is completely okay with graphic violence (torture porn movies receive R ratings but cunnilingus causes an NC-17 rating).
I hope Apple reverses their position on the matter. I hope the CBDLF and LBGT communities fight this sort of injustice. I hope that writers and artists are able to show me new worlds even if I’m introduced to subject that is outside my comfort zone. Censorship, in any form, hinders art and we are all the poorer.
What do you think?