'Digital comic' iPhone app banned

Murderdrome banned by Apple
Murderdrome banned by Apple

In what is the first case of its type, a comic book app made especially for the iPhone and iPod touch, and sold through the Apple iTunes store, has been banned due to its content.

The comic, titled Murderdrome, was created by England-based Al Ewing and Belfast-based Paul J Holden of Infurious Comics and has now been put online by the duo so that their fans don't miss out on the pair's latest creation.

The 'banning' of the comic by Apple has also prompted a plea from Infurious Comics for some sort of age rating system for the App store.

Content rating system

Speaking on their blog, Infurious has said: "Here at infurious, we would love to work with Apple to ensure a content rating system can be put in place to allow material that is no more offensive than many of the R rated films available to download on iTunes."

Currently, there is no age rating in place, and the banning of Apps is done so at Apple's discretion.


TechRadar spoke to PJ Holden, the comic-book artist behind Murderdrome, and here is what he had to say:

TechRadar: Did Apple put Murderdrome on the App store at all, or was it banned outright?

PJ Holden: It was submitted and rejected on the basis of content - unfortunately it never made the app store, one of the disadvantages of comics is that non-comics readers can draw incorrect conclusions very quickly just by looking at the pictures.

TR: Are you in favour of a Ratings system for the App store?

PJH: We're more than happy to resubmit under any ratings system that Apple suggests.

TR: Were you shocked that it was banned?

PJH: After we'd seen the other apps that were banned it wasn't a massive surprise, no. Unfortunately, we were too far ahead in development to stop and start with something new.

The App was complete but it would've required the writer and artist to create a completely new title.

TR: How else do you plan to distribute Murderdrome?

PJH: Right now, the plan is to hold Murderdrome and concentrate on our other titles, which will be more Apple friendly.

Longer term, I'm hoping Apple will see the very public need for some sort of ratings system and we can bring Murderdrome to everyone who's clamouring for it!

TR: Do you think Apple were right to take this decision, given that the comic is, obviously, centred round comic-book violence?

PJH: I think Apple is right to do everything in it's power to make the iPhone / iPod touch a mass market item, I think they're wrong in allowing games in the App store to have ratings and not books or comics.

TR: Despite being banned, do you think the distribution of comics on things like the iPhone is a good thing?

PJH: I think it's a great thing, when used right. I think, potentially, it'll expand the comic reader market into areas it's never seen for years - much in the way the WII has proved to be an incredible introduction to gaming for a wider range of people than the Xbox or PlayStation.

TR: Will it ever beat going to a comic store?

PJH: I hope, and I'm pretty sure, that comic shops will have a long, comfortable life. Unlike record stores, where music is music regardless of the format, comics are different in every format they're on - which is why our comics have been created from the ground up to work on iPhones.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.