Apple – The New Comics Censors

Some people who’ve never looked the word up in the dictionary believe that “censorship” can only come from the government or a state body. Not from a business or an individual. They are wrong.

Of course some people believe that censorship must, by its very nature, be always bad. They are also wrong, but that’s more of a subjective viewpoint and not relevant today. Back to the government/non-government thing.

At the Prism website, which celebrates and supports lesbians gays and transgendered in comics, both characters and creators, Prism founding president, Charles “Zan” Christensen has decided to take on Apple and the future of digital comics.

Because while many in comics see the iPad as a new frontier to be conquered and claimed, there are signs that something about the Apple is rotten.

Charles looks at the Apple banning of Jesus Hates Zombies from the Comixology App on the iPhone, currently a bestselling comic on the Android phone, quoting creator Stephen Lindsay saying “Jesus Hates Zombies doesn’t involve any sex whatsoever. None. It has violence and swearing, but that’s because it’s a mature readers horror comedy. But the violence isn’t even intense. And being a black and white comic, there’s zero red blood, which means any gore is dramatically cut down.”

And while it mostly seems that Apple is most concerned with pornography on Apple products, when it comes to gay or lesbian material, they seem to get very concerned indeed. Christensen sites Tom Boulden’s The Importance Of Being Earnest chopped for minor scenes with naked men kissing and cuddling without any graphic nudity. And Zesty from Yaoi Press featured lesbian scenes without any nudity, simply some rather tame kissing and cuddling.

That too received the axe from Apple. Although these books have found a way onto the device through the Kindle App which has much less content restrictions.

Nevertheless, Kindle aside, this kind of action is reminiscent of the Ratings War of the eighties where Diamond Comics Distribution attempted to create a rating level for all direct market comics, and the rejection of titles such as Miracleman #9. That failed mostly, but with Apple the system is already in place and if comics want to play in what is increasingly becoming the biggest game in town, they’ve got play by these rules.

So yes. Censorship. How do you like them apples?

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