Earlier today, ComicBook.com reported that it had been ComiXology and not Google who had withheld copies of Saga #12 from the Android app following what had, up to that point, been presented as Apple's decision to ban the comic due to a graphic depiction of a sex act in a small image on two pages of the book.
ComiXology has now released a statement confirming that it was their sole decision to remove the book from both the Apple and Android marketplaces and that Apple, who have taken about 24 hours of abuse from comics readers for what was couched as their decision to censor a popular and critically-acclaimed comic book, was not involved with the decision. The decision has been reviewed, and the product is now available in the Apple App.
ComiXology has not yet addressed the Android marketplace, although given our legwork this morning it seems clear the situation is more or less the same there as with Apple.
Here's the statement from ComiXology's David Steinberger:
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. Vaughan and Image Comics for any confusion this may have caused.
Brian K. Vaughan, who kicked off the Internet firestorm with a statement yesterday leveling the blame at Apple, responded with a brief statement of his own, apologizing for the confusion and clarifying that he never believed it was a gay/straight issue that led to the ban. "I 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," the writer said. "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."