Apple Forfeits eBooks By Banning A Comic Book!

Apple, please do not do eBooks.

Because you’ve just shown that you can’t handle comic books!

Recently I raved about a revolutionary new program called Comic Reader. This program was to be used to premiere a comic book called Murderdrome.

From the title alone, you expect it not to be all bunnies and unicorns and rainbows.

But this is a comic book. A work of drawing and word balloons. It is imaginary. It is fiction.

It was submitted to the Apple App Store and the publishers received notice that it was being rejected for violating terms of the Software Developer Kit which states:

Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple’s reasonable judgement may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users.

Well now wait a minute here.

Murderdrome is not an “application,” Comic Reader is. Murderdrome is content that can be read via the Comic Reader application.

Murderdrome is a book.

Apple has just banned a book.

I’ve been one of the earliest and loudest advocates for Apple to enter eBooks (see For The Record: Apple and eBooks). I believed that Apple would legitimize them in a way the Sony Reader hasn’t and go beyond the minor ripple Amazon’s Kindle has managed to create. With a base of millions and millions of potential reading devices out there — iPhone and iPod Touch — Apple would have an advantage no other company has yet enjoyed.

But now Apple has acted in a manner that is absolutely toxic to the process of publishing.

Infurious Comics, to plead its case, has eschewed the income they would have derived from selling the first issue of Murderdrome by placing the entire collection of panels on their site for everyone to read for free. Go look at it. Right now. Then come back.

Several issues and questions here.

1) mj just this week pointed out an entire list of movies that Apple currently offers without any ratings attached to them. One of these movies I think most people will be familiar with: Reservoir Dogs. Remember that shocking scene with the cop tied to a chair being worked over by one of the criminals with a straight razor? Apple offers that with no rating advisory.

Here, look. This is the American iTunes Store listing for Reservoir Dogs:


Click = big

There is no rating.

And oh yes, I’m going to stick it right in your face, that scene. Because you need it for comparison purposes later on. So watch it right now.

2) Here is the listing for one of the other movies people who bought Reservoir Dogs also got, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels:


Click = big

Notice the rating?

Someone could argue, “Well, it’s an oversight.” But how long has this alleged “oversight” been going on? I don’t know if the iTunes Store can restrict purchases based on age, but if they can, hey, this — and the entire list mj has posted — has somehow slipped through. That’s a pretty big slip-through!

3) Back to Reservoir Dogs again. I’m certain 99.9% of the people reading this blog are familiar with The Simpsons. And with the cartoon-within-the-cartoon Itchy & Scratchy. But how many will recall that Itchy & Scratchy did Reservoir Dogs? Yep, here it is:

That went out as general-audience entertainment here in America. I don’t think it got anything other than a TV-G (General Audiences) rating. Yet it illustrates a dismembering and a beheading!

Oh, you argue, it’s just a cartoon!

So is Murderdrome! These are two of the worst panels in it:

The difference between Murderdrome and The Simpsons: Murderdrome is not presenting anything as comedy. Its explicitness is to drive home a point: the brutality of the system in which the prisoners have been placed to compete. It is a futuristic gladiator competition. (I’m not privy to the entire story; all I’ve seen is what everyone has seen, but I’d bet real money that ensuing chapters will be making points about punishment, justice, and character that you won’t find in Itchy & Scratchy!)

4) If Apple’s move is designed to “protect the children,” then Apple doesn’t know what “the children” are up to these days. Look at this:

Hello. The kid has a gun. And how is it he’s imitating a scene from a movie he is prohibited from seeing by its rating? Apple, could he have seen it via the iTunes Store?

5) How cognizant is Apple of the general-audience pop culture out there? Here is a compilation of Itchy & Scratchy:

Just how much brutality has been shown on The Simpsons? I go to the authority: South Park.


Click = big

Here’s a description of an episode carried on the iTunes Store:

Apple banning the Murderdrome comic book does not bode well for Apple possibly handling eBooks in the future.

6) What would it do when presented with crime fiction? What would it do when presented with the four books of Derek Raymond’s Factory series? Apple doesn’t know what it’s in for. Here’s writer James Sallis to give them a peek in a Boston Globe column he wrote: Derek Raymond: A writer who went down into darkness.

7) Who at Apple has been set up to vet material? Specifically, why was Murderdrome vetted as an application and not as a publication? Apple has a Books category in the App Store. That’s where Murderdrome should have been placed.

8) Does this Appointed Guardian at Apple have any idea how comic books have progressed? They’re no longer this:

Even that Appointed Guardian at Apple must have heard there’s a big movie coming out next year called Watchmen. It’s based on a comic book. What would Apple have done if Watchmen had been submitted to it today, with it being a brand-new thing without the history and status it now enjoys? Would the Appointed Guardian have objected to the violence? Like this scene:

Oh, but wait. Apple actually offers a version of the comic book Watchmen!


Click = big

It’s under TV Shows! How does that happen?

It’s evident that Apple has yet to sort out what its stance is on several issues. Properly rating movies, for one thing. How to handle publications that are wrapped in applications. The left hand of one part of the iTunes Store knowing what the right hand is being asked to approve for the App Store.

These are issues that have to be sorted out right now. Aside from Murderdrome, there is another publisher about to offer comic books on the App Store: iVerse. They have to be wondering what Apple’s standards precisely are. I have to wonder now if Apple’s banning of Murderdrome has a sent chilling shot across their bow.

Every single writer in the world is watching you right now, Apple.

Your problems with MobileMe and iPhone 3G reception issues are minor compared to this.

eBooks are the future. You are at the nexus of downloadable content and millions of consumers. Are you telling all of us that you intend to stand between us and every possible publication, permitting only your vision of the future to be offered for sale?

If that’s going to be the case, you’ve just handed the eBook ball to Google and Android.

And Jeff Bezos over at Amazon must be breathing a great sigh of relief right now too — when he isn’t busy laughing at you.

As for me and every other writer who’s been waiting for you to jump into eBooks and free us from an industry frozen in the 19th-century, let’s just say we are not pleased.

And you absolutely do not want to displease writers, Apple. No, you do not.

Update: There’s a new twist to this tale. Murderdrome: Eleven Years Old!

Related coverage elsewhere:

Murderdrome BANNED by Apple
They Ban Comics, Don’t They?
Lying in the Gutters Volume 2 Column 172 (scroll down)

Explore posts in the same categories: Books - Fiction, Books - Graphic, Books - Other, eBooks, Tech - Apple, Uncategorized, Writers - Dead, Writers - Living, Writing

76 Comments on “Apple Forfeits eBooks By Banning A Comic Book!”


  1. Yup: the inconsistency is nearly more infuriating than the initial act of censorship!

  2. Jeff Says:

    Apple has just banned a book.

    No, Apple rejected a book. That’s their right as a publisher, and they can reject anything they want, with or without reason.

    They may be inconsisitant, they may be foolish, but they are not censors.

  3. mikecane Says:

    Did you see their guidelines?

    >>>Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple’s reasonable judgement may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users.

    What was “obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory” compared to Itchy & Scratchy?

    Apple is not a PUBLISHER. The publisher of Murderdrome is the publisher.

    This is a ban.

  4. mikecane Says:

    For those deficient in understanding the word “ban” —

    WalMart Bans Carlin

    http://unionsquarepark.blogspot.com/2004/10/walmart-bans-carlin.html

    Wal-Mart Bans Album Over Gun Sale Lyrics

    http://tinyurl.com/5en5n8

    Wal-Mart Bans 3 Magazines

    http://www.fool.com/News/mft/2003/mft03050604.htm

    @Jeff: Gonna argue that *Wal-Mart* is a publisher?

  5. mikecane Says:

    More on that difficult to understand word “ban” —

    3 Racy Men’s Magazines Are Banned by Wal-Mart

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D02E7DD113CF935A35756C0A9659C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=print


  6. […] booster of the iPhone as an e-book reader, is furious enough to have just blogged a post headlined Apple Forfeits eBooks by Banning a Comic. Give it a good, close read. I wouldn’t have used so melodramatic a headline. But I totally […]

  7. DaveD Says:

    You don’t see any blurred lines here?

    Metrodome… a comic book… available from Infurious Comics… which used to be called Comic Reader… and all from Blue Pilot Software?

    You missed a bigger picture Mike. Sure, The “comic” Metrodome is tame by comparison to some other things on iTunes. It probably *should* be aailable there too. But b objective about this – or else one might wonder if you have some connection to Blue Pilot or Infurious Comics or whatever-they-call-themselves at the moment.

    And please – Apple does have a right to run their store as they see fit. Sucks, but true.


  8. […] Apple Forfeits eBooks By Banning A Comic Book!Overreaction? Or more evidence that Apple really needs to re-assemble its shit? […]

  9. Philip Orr Says:

    Just to let you guys know that a new title is prepping for submission to the AppStore. Check out:

    http://www.bluepilotsoftware.com/

    Philip

  10. Constable Odo Says:

    Sorry, but only PG-13 content is allowed in the App Store. If you want smut, go elsewhere.

    If I were to open a mom and pop candy store and was going to sell magazines, I should be able to choose any types of magazines I want to be sold at my store. If you want magazines with every conceivable content, then go to another store. I control what is available in my store.

    Okay if you believe that the WinMo platform and Symbian platform is going to win out because Apple controls it’s content, then more power to them. I think any responsible parent would back Apple fully in this respect. If you want to create a site that you can download bloody violence, pornography, nasty language, mutilation, etc. then fine. I’ll even go there to download some for myself for enjoyment. I like all of the above. All I’m saying is that if Apple doesn’t want it on their site, fine with me. I’ll happily go someplace else to get it and not even blink an eye.

    You don’t go to Wal-Mart for sex toys and adult videos, do you. Just go to a place that has them and leave Apple to do as it sees fit. Apple is already a lightning rod for idiots. I don’t want to see the church or some obscenity groups stalking Apple.

  11. AdamC Says:

    Whoa, hold your horses, for my take I will be seeing classification or rather rating in the future so as not to insult the intelligent or sensitivity of the users/readers. Like they say one man’s poison is another man’s meat.

    This reminds me of the 2 mp camera of the iPhone, some jokers expect the iPhone to sport a better camera and eventually to be the ieverything – for this bunch of jokers, get real, the iPhone is a phone but packed with wonderful features to be enjoyed but certainly not an ieverything.

  12. mikecane Says:

    @DavidD: It’s called Murderdrome. If you can’t bother to pay attention long enough to get the title straight, what good are you? And hey, pal, maybe you’re used to visiting sites and blogs that do Pay-Per-Post or have investments in the companies they tout, but that’s not the case here.

    @Odo: Smut? Are you out of your fucking mind? Did you bother to look at any of the video examples?

    @AdamC: WTF does the *camera* have to do with this issue?

  13. You Got WAY WAY Too Much Time On Your Hands Says:

    Seriously, WOW, how much time did you spend on this? It seems like one of those “let’s write about Apple to get more hit’s” blog stories. Another newsflash, you can’t see anal sex on saturday morning TV and there are sex comic books that have been made into cartoons. Oh my God, the TV networks have banned books!

  14. Cliff Burns Says:

    Apple’s e-book guidelines are troubling and, as you have pointed out, entirely inconsistent and hypocritical. For some reason they’ve chosen to put more controls on the books they feature than the extraordinarily violent movies they allow consumers to access through their product. Rejecting a bad book is one thing but rejecting a book because of its content is censorship pure and simple. I expected more from the Mac/Apple people. I hope they get their heads screwed on straight soon…

  15. Tim F. Says:

    I don’t understand equating content which has longstanding independent review boards universally applying ratings to content based on arcane but well-established, heavily debated criteria to asking Apple to become an arbiter of ratings for a new medium.

    Secondly, does Comic Reader allow new content to be downloaded, or must the app be downloaded with each new piece of content? It’s an important question that has been ignored. If the app (Comic Reader) can acquire content (different from Murderdrome), the idea of rating the application isn’t so clear cut.

    Third, why must this be addressed NOW? Why is this a major issue? Am I really supposed to be so naive as to believe this changes anything or fundamentally alters everyone’s ability to free expression? Because I’m not. All I see is an extremely successful company making millions of people so happy that they have thousands of issues they want satisfied… and I would rank this one issue far less pressing than many a major issue.

  16. mikecane Says:

    @WayTooMuch: Seriously, have you got anything better to say? No? Thought not.

    @Cliff: Did you notice the irony at PW’s site? No Comments allowed!

    @Tim: It has to be addressed now because Apple is the one who created the issue now. They cannot claim G-rating on App Store when they make jillions off of music with sickening lyrics and movies with sickening scenes and TV shows with sickening scenes. Why are the sickening scenes in a *comic book* suddenly worse than all those others? And what’s up with that long list of movies being sold without their established independent-board-granted ratings? “Oversight?” Apple is a large company with many employees. They aren’t two guys in a garage who simply forgot something small.

    Edit to add: I believe that Comic Reader is a wrapper for the content and is not like, say, either Stanza or eReader, where other books can be downloaded. If you looked at the demo video, you can understand why that is.

  17. Tim F. Says:

    Mike, you are still making a giant leap of illogic. Yes, Apple provides content which already has independent review boards applying ratings. Yes, there are sometimes shortcomings in the system. Yes, it is the studios themselves that are responsible. Yes, oversights occur. I can point to examples of the wrong aspect ratio being entered, price, etc… This isn’t shocking. The iTS contains millions of pieces of content being entered by thousand of different organizations. Yes, Apple reserves the right to reject certain apps. And?

    So still, why NOW? If not NOW, can the system never be improved or fixed? Will censorship run rampant to other systems destroying humanity? Or are you just being hysterical?

  18. Tim F. Says:

    Also, Mike, where is this long list of content without their rating? Every example you cite above has its appropriate rating except Reservoir Dogs. I’m sure there may be other examples, but can you stick to being factual rather than making stuff up? It’ll make your argument a little easy to consider without laughing.

  19. Syd Says:

    It’s not about “banning”, which has overtones of freedom of the press and government censorship. Very different set of issues.

    It’s about the right of a business to protect the quality of its brand and customer experience. It’s why Starbucks does not sell cheap doughnuts, or why Victoria’s Secret does not sell maternity clothes.

    The commenter about Too Much Time was on the mark.

  20. mikecane Says:

    @Tim: You have fallen in my eyes. Because the link to the movie list was in the post *twice*.

    http://cimota.com/blog/2008/08/23/some-films-with-no-rating-on-the-uk-itunes-movie-store/

    Syd: It’s about banning, period. And oh, Apple just got ITS ass banned in England. An iPhone ad was banned for broad claims that are not supported by real-life user experience. The timing could not have been better!

  21. Tim F. Says:

    And you are quite humorous in my eyes: LESS THAN THIRTY!! Oh my god, it’s so long, it goes on for ages!!

  22. Tim F. Says:

    “Edit to add: I believe that Comic Reader is a wrapper for the content and is not like, say, either Stanza or eReader, where other books can be downloaded. If you looked at the demo video, you can understand why that is.”

    So that destroys your argument of trying to pedantically separate the content from the app. They are one and the same.

  23. mikecane Says:

    @Tim: Snark away. *Two* complaints got Apple’s ass banned in England. And the lack of ratings is mirrored on UK *and* US iTunes. You must be a great employer. I’d like to work for you. You seem to excuse sloppiness right and left.

    The fact remains they have banned a *book*.


  24. […] Authority (ASA) has ruled one of the company’s iPhone ads misleading. Apple’s being accused of censorship after banning the Murderdrome comic from the App Store for violating the terms of its SDK which […]

  25. haltse Says:

    @odo

    I respect that it’s their store and other than an inconsistency in how they handle adult vs safe and fluffy pg entertainment. Then again doesn’t the app store have to be tied to an account that requires a credit card. e.g ADULT supervision. This is a tempest in a teacup though and on the whole the smart thing to do would be to create neutral readers as Tim F said we’re missing a really big bit of information here that makes the discussion rather pointless till someone that cares looks it up, that’s not me;)

    People do buy sex toys at walmart doesn’t everyone see the produce section in that light?

  26. Tim F. Says:

    Please, Mike, Apple (nor its ass) were banned in the UK. One advertisement was. And they are accepting it, so if you are equating the two, there should be nothing to get excited about, right? In the same way you are equating Apple, the company and “the ass” with an advertisement, you are equating 8 panels of a very low quaiity comic with a “book.”

    You might want to moderate the hysterics, it would be make it more difficult to not laugh at you.

  27. Tim F. Says:

    “And the lack of ratings is mirrored on UK *and* US iTunes. ”

    And? They are the exact same submissions provided by the studios. What do you think this obvious similarity indicates? Please do some research.

  28. mikecane Says:

    @Tim: Are you a politician, lawyer, or just plain sleazy in argument? Oh, no, wait, you’re an art and literary critic too! “…a very low quaiity comic …” Goddam, why don’t you have your own blog? Everyone could learn from you.

  29. Tim F. Says:

    “It’s under TV Shows! How does that happen?

    It’s evident that Apple has yet to sort out what its stance is on several issues. Properly rating movies, for one thing. How to handle publications that are wrapped in applications. The left hand of one part of the iTunes Store knowing what the right hand is being asked to approve for the App Store.”

    Actually, it’s evident you are happy to not do the simplest of research and don’t know what you are talking about:

    “I don’t know if the iTunes Store can restrict purchases based on age, but if they can, hey, this — and the entire list mj has posted — has somehow slipped through. That’s a pretty big slip-through!”

    Yes, Apple can restrict based on rating. Why would “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels” be a slip-up if you are not applying this parental control? If I apply restrictions, it does not appear. Since you are happy to make presumptions, I will clear a few things up for you: Apple accepts the information submitted by the content’s producers with respect to music, movies, tv shows, and podcasts. So the “Left Hand” isn’t doing anything. Occasionally errors do occur so user complaints and producer complaints may be directed to Apple who will review the matter with the producer. Otherwise, the “Left Hand” does nothing at all because the proper systems are in place to allow Apple to be a family-oriented business and to keep the content in control of the original producer.

    I don’t see how that is equal to an application review process which is complete new and incorporates all types of programs and content without any apparent independent rating system.

  30. Tim F. Says:

    “@Tim: Are you a politician, lawyer, or just plain sleazy in argument? Oh, no, wait, you’re an art and literary critic too! “…a very low quaiity comic …” Goddam, why don’t you have your own blog? Everyone could learn from you.”

    What is sleazy about my argument? Who says I don’t have my own blog? Are you going to completely ignore everything I said and throw out ad hominem and non sequiturs? Because as long as you do, there is nothing to learn from you.

  31. mikecane Says:

    >>>Who says I don’t have my own blog?

    Put up or shut up. URL.

  32. Tim F. Says:

    Who said I had one either?

    Are you seriously reducing your argument to: I will ignore valid information and logical arguments because they are coming from someone who doesn’t have a blog? Ha, ha, ha!

  33. mikecane Says:

    No, Tim. I wanted to see who you are other than someone With Too Much Time On His Hands. You are dismissed.

  34. Tim F. Says:

    This comment has been BANNED.

    It has not met with the standards of this blog. Although those standards have never been clearly stated nor are open for others to inspect, the fact remains that banning a comment is the risk people have to take when submitting their work to the Apple App Store — um, I mean, to this blog.

    Have I made the point in a way you can now understand, Tim?

  35. Tim F. Says:

    Yes, you’ve made the point that I and Apple want made (while ignoring the truth that Apple’s standards are very clear with regard to media content, you merely failed to research them): you can do with your own things what you want. Do you see me crying?

  36. Tim F. Says:

    Or is your point that you are a hypocrite?

  37. mikecane Says:

    No, Tim, I wanted you to have the *experience* of being banned. Out of all your trolling comments, that one seemed to have the least to say and so could be easily smothered.

  38. Tim F. Says:

    My comment was that I don’t need to have a blog for you to contact me, that you can use the email I have provided — and that you can’t claim you aren’t dismissing and then dismiss me. How is that trolling? How are any of my comments trolling?

  39. mikecane Says:

    Tim, we clearly don’t see eye to eye. Probably because I have two and you have none.

  40. Tim F. Says:

    Yes, I have none. Ha, ha, ha. And I’m the troll.

  41. Nunya Says:

    I agree completely that Apple’s decision in this situation is horrible.
    I agree that it calls into question whether I would view their producing and provisioning an eBook a good thing.

    But the extended exchange in the comments on this blog that the blog author is being rather immature and childish and the poster arguing with him (and with whom I disagree) is being much more rational and intelligent about the whole discussion…

  42. DaveD Says:

    @mikecane

    It’s DaveD, not DavidD. If you can’t pay attention long enough to get the name straight, why bother to reply to my comment? :-)

    For the record I only noticed my unintentional repeated misspelling 5 minutes ago when I read this post. Please note that I *did* pay attention long enough to grasp how easy it is to confuse who owns what with the party – or parties – involved.

    Your OP does still sounds like a gross overreaction to me. Enough that I expressed my curiosity of the reason for it. Glad to hear my concerns were unfounded. I never meant to get personal, but can see how you might have mistaken some of my words. Apologies.

    We obviously disagree as to who owns what rights in this matter. While I certainly agree that consistency is lacking (along with transparency), I still grudgingly feel that it’s Apple’s product and store to do what/how they please. Nobody forced me to buy my iPhone a year ago, and nobody is forcing me to develop and retail in their App Store.

    I just hope they don’t squander this opportunity like they did in the late 80s with the Mac.

  43. mikecane Says:

    @DaveD: I am properly chastised and will gouge out my faulty eyes forthwith. It’s the damned reading glasses. They play tricks on my eyes. Like hiding typos!

    @Nunya: That’s the risk you take here, pal. You are free to go to any other of the several jillion blogs and sites on the Net to get Comment exchange that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. Sometimes this is mutual stabbing. Or just me stabbing others. It keeps things lively. Not inviting, but lively. Besides, they got what they asked for. If I’d been doing a proper job, I would have deleted most of them as offenses against IQ.


  44. […] in relation to other content currently available through the iTunes store — check his post “Apple Forfeits eBooks By Banning A Comic Book!”, for an interesting, albeit lengthy, […]

  45. DaveD Says:

    The damned reading glasses? I refuse to wear such things! Then again, I’m near-sighted so I tend to lose my glasses after taking them off to work on my PC. (Or Mac as it be.)

    But let’s BOTH be honest – my spelling wasn’t a typo – it was wrong. Not because of lack of attention though. Just because, well, I didn’t pay close enough attention! As was your “typo”. (And yeah, in real life I hate “David” – only my mom did that and only when I was being myself – er, being told what I was doing wrong.)

    Peace.

  46. mikecane Says:

    DaveD: No problem. I might yell at and be snide to people, but it’s not like I’m going to be hiding under your bed tonight and come out while you are sound asleep and smother you. Mainly because you forgot to give me your Google Map coordinates. Ha!


  47. […] the store sure to anger the users. Being called out for misleading advertising. More user anguish over the censorship of eBooks. This goes on top of the already anxious audience, angry developers and questions of how bad Apple […]


  48. […] most energetic defense was posted by blogger Mike Cane, who rattled off (with live links) several equally violent works of fiction published without fuss […]


  49. […] most energetic defense was posted by blogger Mike Cane, who rattled off (with live links) several equally violent works of fiction published without fuss […]


  50. […] most energetic defense was posted by blogger Mike Cane, who rattled off (with live links) several equally violent works of fiction published without fuss […]

  51. Nonyabidness Says:

    Same thing happened to several applications that made “fart” noises just like the “fart machines” you find in many stores. Apple said these apps were obscene. It is ridiculous that Apple allows explicit music, comedy cd’s with fart sounds, and unrated movies with oooooh, genitalia! None of these are obscene. Shame on Apple for being like China! Fucking hypocrites. If someone can shove a guarantee of a million dollars up Steve Job’s ass then they would allow whatever app is in question.

  52. mikecane Says:

    Whoa! I recall seeing some apps on the Store in the early days that had fart sounds in them. Those have been pulled?! What dicks!

  53. ramin Says:

    The problem is that Apple allows app developers to assign ratings for games but not for applications or content wrapped in apps.

    I’d be curious if Infurious resubmitted the comic book (or future works) as a game and assigned ratings to it, they would be within the guidelines. After all, the ESRB board supports M (Mature) and AO (Adult Only) ratings.

  54. FishKill Says:

    Just done a bit of poking around the net with Murderdrome, and the story isn’t a new one.

    Murderdrome was originally penciled by Simon Penter back in 1997. You can see his artwork here:

    http://www.simonpenter.com/html/murderdrome_0.html

    So this is nothing new, just a new medium for distribution. The bloody story is over 11 years old.

    FK

  55. mikecane Says:

    @FishKill: Daaaamn. I’m impressed by your curiosity! Thanks!

  56. mj Says:

    Yes. This is a new medium for distribution. Well done.

    Does the CONTENT really matter.


  57. […] voci di protesta, per la presenza di altri contenuti su iTunes che potrebbero risultare offensivi: a questo link potete trovare un post con una serie di film e cartoni altrettanto violenti o […]


  58. […] CORPORATIONS: Apple forfeits eBooks credibility by banning a book – a Comic Book! WTF? Censorship from Apple. I’m sure it’s just a misunderstanding, right? Haha. Consolidating everything you buy from a market into one store is a bad idea. Many apple people only buy stuff through apple, including only getting music from iTunes. They simply don’t get things that aren’t available through Apple. Looks like Apple is becoming the Wal-Mart of online content. (tags: poilitics corporations Apple censorship media comicBooks Murderdrome blog articles) […]

  59. Brian Says:

    I think everyone seems to be missing the point. If walmat bans something, i can go elsewhere to buy it. Right now the iPhone is a closed system. If i want to put something onto it, i MUST use the official app store. Now, when they ban/withhold/censor content there is no alternative way i can put it on the phone. IF there was a healthy eco-system of stores to pick and choose from, where i could download edgy content on one, and family content on another, then no one would care about this issue. But that is not the way it is, Apple has exercised complete draconian control over every aspect of their store and device (a device that I OWN) and offers me no way to enjoy content i want. It is a ban and anti-competitive.

  60. mikecane Says:

    The following Comment is from someone named Pete, who posted it in in the wrong place. This is the best I can do to move it:

    ======================

    Stop whining. If Apple wish to fine tune their acceptance criteria, aren’t they allowed? I mean, isn’t there *enough* other avenues for comic artists to take?

    Ranting about Apple smacks of righteousness and demands for rights that do not exist. Apple doesn’t owe you a living. They don’t owe anyone a platform for publishing comics, either. If you’re a comic book writer and you want to make a living, sell it to the public. Obviously if you want it bad enough, if you can’t do it with the iPhone, you’ll d it some other way. If you fail to…then you deserve to be left in the corner, creating your art that noone will see.

    Next!

    ========================

    End of Pete’s Comment.

  61. John Says:

    ok, i can see where you are going with the ban apple deal, i respect your right to freedom of speech. But Apple is offering a lot of it’s product for free, and maybe Apple doesn’t want their younger reader’s accessing a comic book where the story plot-line is people killing each other for a game. If one door shuts try selling it in a different place. I remember Battle Royal was on the banned in America list for quite a while.

    and to reply to Brian, there are many Ebook websites that aren’t thru Apple, i found them by googling Free Ebooks.

  62. FJ Says:

    This is just one reason why I will NEVER buy apple’s products. It still wants to have that pirate/cult social status delegated to it; it’s just another corporation, everyone. Wrapping its computers, mp3 players, and cell phones in neat packaging is NOT innovative, and they have the same type of censorship goons that work at Facebook and every other company pretending to be “youth-oriented”. They’re just corporations. They don’t care about you at all.


  63. […] ANNOYING: Apple is apparently refusing to allow the sale of a comics-reading app for the iPhone because of the content of a comic that premiered on the app. […]

  64. MoJo Says:

    Add my book to the books that have been submitted to the App Store as an iApp and rejected as obscene (“fuck”).

    http://moriahjovan.com/mojo/oh-tipper-where-are-you

    We are waiting and hoping and praying for a rating system, but that’s the best we can do right now because…

    I think everyone seems to be missing the point. If walmat bans something, i can go elsewhere to buy it. Right now the iPhone is a closed system.

    Good point! But not *quite* exactly correct.

    There is another way. Put Stanza on your iPhone/iTouch and read via EPUB format.

  65. Sam Says:

    I just downloaded the first part of a Pibgorn series that is about demons and faeries, specifically a succubus who is in love with a human who is in love with a faery and it is both violent and profane not to mention quite dirty. Perhaps they had other issues, but if it is the app just submit it with other content, don’t just dis Apple.

  66. Noah Ramon Says:

    I can’t help but think that this is similar to my not being able to buy Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers at my local bookstore or newsstand, and I have to either get it direct or through a specialty shop.

    If you find yourself “banned” from the App Store (not iTS, mind you – two separate stores, albeit in the same browser, so I can see why you might confuse the two), then you can release it either via the ad hoc distro or as an app for jailbroken iPhones. Yeah, you don’t have the same sales potential as with an App Store app- but that’s the breaks. You want to do something that
    (Also, as has been noted, the material in the iTS has ratings (NR is a rating that acts similar to X/NC17 in determining access), and parental controls can be set regarding access for those.)
    If the app and the book weren’t bound together so tightly, the app itself would probably have gone through and they could have sold the content separately. (Yeah, it would be tougher to make it modular, but their design decisions for how to make the infrastructure of the app and its contents are not Apple’s fault.)

    I can’t help but think that this is a tempest in a teacup – it’s not GOOD that they’re playing CCA-esque games, certainly – but speaking as a bookseller who observes Banned Books Week every September, I’m not seeing this as the same kind of issue.

    (To put it another way, I would expect Circlet Press to have much the same luck with the same paradigm for delivery.)

  67. sir jorge Says:

    what idiots, they lost a good thing.


  68. […] has embarrassed itself in the eyes of intelligent people by banning a comic book and banning an […]


  69. […] that’s rife with “potentially offensive” lyrics, such as rap. Technologist and blogger Mike Cane also writes about Apple’s hypocrisy in banning some items while selling others, including the violent movie, Reservoir Dogs.Obviously, […]


  70. […] find objectionable. The latest instance concerned a book reader application called Eucalyptus, but it’s been going on for a while. After they started getting some bad PR over this, they finally went ahead and approved the […]


  71. […] There is not a single retailer out there who can either be trusted or has the courage to stand behind freedom of expression. […]


  72. […] Apple Approves Of Shooting Nurses In The Face! God Bless Writer Derek Raymond How Many Of THESE eBooks Will Apple Ban? Apple Bans ANOTHER Book From App Store! Apple And A Tale Of Two Bannings Apple Forfeits eBooks By Banning A Comic Book! […]


  73. […] Learned Selling on the iPhone App Store Apple Comments on Removal of Sexual-content Apps 2008: Apple Forfeits eBooks By Banning A Comic Book! 2010: A REAL Justification For Apple Censorship? Apple adds category listings to iTunes […]


  74. […] banned and banned and banned and banned books and took a shit on freedom of […]


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