Izneo, the France digital comics publisher/distributor that represents comic book work from the ten largest comic book publisher in France has found itself forced to pull 1500 of the 4000 titles it currently distributes, after demands from Apple.
This concerns titles distributed through Izneo’s App (restricted to those over 17) and not distributed through Apple’s iBook store. Those, it seems, are untouched,
On the eve of the long Easter weekend, around 8pm, one of the heads at Izneo was called by a person working for the Apple Store in the United States. We were ordered to remove the Ebooks from the present application because they were considered pornographic for Americans. We are talking about digital comics for adults you will understand. Apple issued an ultimatum. Team Izneo had 30 hours to remove the comics or suffer the complete removal of the App from the Appstore.
However, they didn’t tell Izeo what they defined as pornographic, nor which titles counted. So they have removed every comic “revealing a breast, causing cleavage, curve, or evoking a suggestive gesture”. That meant 2800 titles disappeared, including the likes of Largo Winch, XIII and Blake & Mortimer. Since then a number have returned, so now only 1500 titles are still removed.
One of the censored authors, Thomas Cadene, compared it “as if three-quarters of booksellers decided to refuse to sell comics with any piece of ass. Suffice to say that the market would collapse immediately and that the level and creative freedom would suffer quite heavily” and compared the action from Apple to that of China.Ironically, in the fifties and sixties, French publishers used to run Marvel comics heavily censored, mostly violence and horror. Now it seems the tables have been turned…