Looking back at the stories that had the most impact on the comics industry in 2013
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2. Image Comics Struggles with Apple, comiXology
By nearly all accounts, 2013 was a terrific year for Image Comics -- "The Walking Dead" continued to dominate pop culture on just about all fronts, "Saga" further established itself as a genre-defining hit and new series like "Sex Criminals," "Pretty Deadly," "Black Science" and "Velvet" debuted to and have maintained impressive sales numbers.
Yet the publisher was vexed throughout the year by online censorship issues, a clear sign of growing pains in the digital comics market. In March, Apple blocked Joe Casey and Piotr Kowalski's "Sex" from being sold on the comiXology iOS app due to content concerns, though it remained available on the iBooks app. One month later, "Saga" #12 encountered a similar problem, though it was later revealed that the comic was actually blocked by comiXology itself as a preemptive move, and was later made available on the iOS app.
In November, "Sex Criminals" #2 also received the Apple block, despite issue #1 making it through with no objections, with both issues available for purchase on the iBooks app. At the time, Image stated, "Apple is free to make whatever decisions they deem best for their business, but there’s a level of inconsistency here that is difficult for the creative community to understand." Given Apple's deliberately vague standards of what constitutes objectionable content, it appears such incidents will remain somewhat unpredictable. "I say all the time that we're still in the very early days of the digital comics market, so there's really no reason for us to get in lock step with Apple over something that may be irrelevant in a few years' time," said Image publisher Eric Stephenson last month.