Ireland, considering its size, has produced a disproportionately large amount of world renowned writers.

Nude comic book of James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ published in time for Bloomsday


Ireland, considering its size, has produced a disproportionately large amount of world renowned writers.

As it did 80 years ago, James Joyces “Ulysses” has being causing a commotion due to its obscene nature. This time round however it is a graphic novel version of the story by Throwaway Horse, called “Ulysses Seen”, that had been censored.

However Apple, in their wisdom, has allowed the comic book publishers to show “Ulysses Seen”, nudity and all, just in time for Bloomsday.

The comic book publisher has won the battle with Apple who would not show their graphic novel, on the new iPad, due to the amount of nudity. Apple had approached the publishers and asked them to edit out any depictions of nudity but Throwaway Horse refuses calling it censorship.

“Ulysses Seen” was dreamt up, rather fittingly, over a couple of pints of Guinness in an Irish pub. Robert Berry, the artist behind the comic, had attended a Bloomsday reading and realized something.

He said that a comic “was the only medium that could faithfully adapt Joyce's novel. Only comics have the plasticity of time and weight of visual symbols needed to make it work and comics, unlike film or theatre or audio books, are a reading experience in the same way that a novel is. People can dive in or stop at a point and still be carried back into that kind of experience.”

The publisher’s business manager, Chad Rutkowski agreed. “We are concerned that fundamental works of literature are going to go ignored by millennials unless you give them a way in,” he said.

“Reading “Ulysses” or “Paradise Lost” or the “Inferno” requires text interrupted by footnotes or resort to companion guides that ruin focusing on the work itself. We've brought all of the resources you need for comprehension of the work under one roof, and really think we've created an immersive experience.”

Throwaway Horse was determined to continue with the project and have to graphic novel appear on iPad.

Berry said “Apple's policy had been that app developers should not be permitted to use nudity in any of their images, even if it's pixilated or covered by 'fig leaves'. Our comic has a mature rating (no one under 17 understands Joyce's book anyway), but we were still not allowed to show frank nudity."

The Throwaway Horse team insisted that there was nothing which intentional pushed boundaries in their adaptation and felt that Apple’s initial reaction was unfounded, especially taking into account that 80 years ago the novel was banned from the United States for being obscene.

Rutkowski said “I don't think the Apple representative that I first spoke with even knew what Ulysses was.”

Though Apple have now admitted that their “established guidelines” were too rigid for artistic growth the pages containing nudity are not included on the iPad version of “Ulysses Seen” but the creators still wanted it to be part of the iPad experience.

Berry, the artist, said “We believed that our method for showing and annotating the novel was completely unique to the iPad experience and wanted to be a part of that. So we made a second version of the work to hold up to Apple's guideline while still carrying the original pages on our website.”

Apple have no agreed to evaluate each nudity or mature content query in a case specific manner now.

A spokesperson for Apple, Trudy Muller said “We made a mistake.” She said we “called the developers and offered them the opportunity to resubmit". [“Ulysses Seen” is] now in the store with the original panel drawings."


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