Update: Comixology has reported that, to the contrary, Apple did not ban the comics over sexual content, but instead that it itself held back its publication following its decision that the issue failed to meet App Store guidelines.

Apple has banned the sale of the latest issue of Brian K. Vaughan’s (and Fiona Staples’) SAGA from sale in ‘any iOS apps’, reports the author. The comic, which is releasing issue 12 this week, features two panels with small images of gay sex.

Vaughan is the writer of the uber popular Y: The Last Man and Ex Machina series’ and a 4-time Eisner Award winner. We’re still working to confirm the reasons why the issue may have been banned from the store, but Vaughan states that it’s due to ‘two postage stamp-sized images of gay sex’.

However, because the panels are so explicit, featuring very graphic depictions of male sex organs and ejaculate, there is a question of whether it’s simply the degree of how explicit it is, rather than the sexual orientation that’s at the heart of the ban.

However, previous issues of the comic featured prominent panels of heterosexual sex, as well as other violent and graphic imagery. This means that this particular issue wasn’t banned because of its mature content, but rather because that content specifically included homosexual intercourse. The panels feature a character with a TV for a head (the work is a largely a surrealist Sci-Fi work) that is wounded by an enemy. In his stupor, images of explicit gay sex appear on the face of his TV face.

“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,” Vaughan says in a statement. “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.”

He says that you can pick it up at a comic store or directly through the Image Comics site. Vaughan also notes that you “might be able to find SAGA #12 in Apple’s iBookstore, which apparently sometimes allows more adult material to be sold than through its apps. Crazy, right?”

Apple has a history of censoring content in the App Store, up to and including sex, violence and overt political statements. As Vaughan notes, there is a very good chance that you’ll come across all of those in its iBookstore, and a 100% chance that you can see all of the same, including sex in every permutation, in the iTunes store in the form of film and audiobook offerings.

We’ve reached out to Apple for confirmation or comment on the banning of the issue, and will update the post if it responds.

Image Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images