Superhero Episode

Fry: When you were a kid, what was your greatest fantasy?
Leela: To have parents.
Fry: Whatever. The correct answer is: To be a superhero! We have superpowers, and we're Americans. Now's our chance!
Futurama, "Less Than Hero"

An episode of a non-superhero show in which the characters temporarily gain superpowers and/or the urge to dress up in colored spandex and fight crime.

The characters in question may normally be non-powered, or they may have already had extraordinary abilities that they've never before referred to as superpowers.

Depending on the nature of the show's universe, this may occur "for real," as a dream or fantasy, or completely out-of-continuity, but in any case it involves familiar characters wearing capes, kicking ass, and going by (possibly parodic) Something Person names.

May include a stock parody fight scene referencing the '60s Batman series.

A subtrope of Something Completely Different.


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     Anime and Manga 
  • Dragon Ball Z's Great Saiyaman, which is Not-So-Ordinary High-School Student Gohan's superhero identity. Played for Laughs, as neither criminals nor cops find his outlandish getup and antics very impressive, and his Paper-Thin Disguise does not fool anyone for long.
  • One Piece has a few shorts and one numbered anime episode revolving around "Chopperman", a superhero version of Chopper completely out of continuity, where Chopper plays the eponymous hero, Usopp the Big Bad, Zoro, Sanji, and Robin form the Quirky Miniboss Squad, Nami is Chopper's secretary, and Luffy is a giant sombrero robot.

     Comic Books  
  • A relatively short lived Alternate Continuity of Archie features the characters as superheroes.
  • Strangers in Paradise had an out-of-continuity issue in which Francine and Katchoo were superheroes and Freddie a bumbling villain who accidentally destroys the world.
  • The Super Sidekick Sleepover Slaughter arc of Hack/Slash.
  • The "Cape Fear" storyline in Resurrection Man started with Mitch in a virtual world created by his subconscious, in which he was a Silver Age caped superhero, and all the people who had tried to kill him were costumed supervillains. He was still wearing the costume from this scenario when Superman invited him to join the Justice League. He eventually decided it wasn't for him.

     Live Action TV  
  • The Suite Life of Zack and Cody had one as part of a Disney "make a wish" event. Zack and Cody have a dream where they become superheroes, with Mr Moseby as the supervillain.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch had this as a B-plot in one episode. He gets hit with a potion to relive his childhood dream - and transforms into the superhero Mighty Teen.
  • Charmed has "Witches in Tights" in the fifth season. A preteen witch is being hunted by a warlock - and uses his magic drawings to turn the sisters into superheroes.
  • Soap opera Guiding Light of all things. There was even a corresponding comic book tie-in!
  • Superpowers broke out on an episode of Gilligan's Island thanks to a shipment of radioactive vegetables.
  • Stargate SG-1 episode "Upgrades." SG-1 gets superpowers after being guinea pigs for a Tok'ra technology. Their newfound powers cause them to completely lack good judgment, including getting in a bar fight.
  • Dexter had an episode in which Dexter imagined his life as a super hero (or super villain, he wasn't quite sure). As one would imagine, it was done in the same horrifyingly psychotic way as everything else in the show.
  • Sanctuary did it twice, in Hero and Hero 2, with a living suit which gives people superpowers but makes them unstable.
  • Warehouse 13 did it in the episode Mild Mannered; given the show's premise it was easy for an artifact to give someone super-powers.
  • Bewitched had the episode Super Arthur in which Uncle Arthur turns into Superman after Dr. Bombay gives him a pill.
  • The Monkees turn into "Monkeemen" in a few episodes. While they can fly, the rest of their powers consist of exchanging insults to bruise someone's ego.
  • While Lois and Clark was a superhero series, Lois Lane was most definitely not a superhero — except for one episode where she got Superman's powers and became Ultra Woman.
  • The puppet/animatronics sitcom Dinosaurs had an episode where Earl became Captain Impressive after exposure to toxic waste.

     Newspaper Comics 
  • Calvin and Hobbes has Stupendous Man strips from time to time. Some of these are Imagine Spots, while others have Calvin actually putting on a costume.


     Western Animation 
  • In the Bugs Bunny cartoon "Super-Rabbit", Bugs acquires carrots which, when eaten, temporarily give him the abilities of super strength and speed, flight and invulnerability. Later, the two villains obtain the carrots and gain super powers of their own.
    • Followed up immediately by a Shout-Out to, in the eyes of just about all back then and still many today, some real-life superheroes... the US Marine Corps.
      • ...leading the USMC to officially induct Bugs as an honorary private in the Marine Corps. He was regularly promoted until "retiring" at the end of the war as a Master Sergeant.
    Bugs: -Sees the villains in Super form- This looks like a job for a real superman! -Dives into a phone booth, and emerges in Marine Corps dress blues-
  • CatDog had two episodes: "Dog the Mighty" and its Sequel Episode "Dog the Not-So Mighty". In the first one, Dog gets the impression that he is a superhero after saving Rancid Rabbit's life and tries to fight crime with Cat as his sidekick Cat-Boy. In the Sequel Episode, Cat quits as Dog's sidekick so Dog gets a new Cat-Boy in Randolph the news reporter.
  • An episode of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers has Dale obtaining a fragment of a meteor that gives him super-stretching powers (ironically similar to those of Mister Fantastic) and the becomes a superhero... at the same time that the Villain of the Week obtains another fragment that gives him the same powers.
  • The Duck Dodgers episode "The Green Loontern", where Dodgers accidentally gets Green Lantern's uniform and ring from the dry cleaners.
  • DuckTales notably had a superhero character added into the second season in Gizmo Duck, but one episode entitled "The Masked Mallard" notably featured Scrooge becoming a masked vigilante.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: "Robbin' Ed" has Johnny 2x4 and Plank as "Captain Melon-head and Splinter the Wonder Wood", who steal back the money Eddy conned off the other kids. This drives Eddy to plot revenge as the super-villain "Professor Scam".
    • Melonhead and Splinter return in The Movie.
  • TheFairlyOddParents' "Big Superhero Wish" episode turned everyone in the world into a superhero/villan.
    • The Fairly OddParents loves superhero episodes. Timmy is, after all, Cleft the Boy Chin Wonder. And the Masked Magician. And occasionally Crash Nebula. And his parents are Mighty Mom and Dyno Dad.
  • Family Guy had the family mutated by a crashed toxic waste truck. Most of their powers were "normal", but Meg's power was super amazing fingernail growth.
  • An episode of Felix the Cat had this. Apparently, his "Magic Bag" wasn't super enough on its own to count as making him a superhero, but it could just give him tights, super-powers, and a big beefy physique.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: "Challenge of the Super Friends" which Mac becomes the sidekick for the superhero imaginary friend Imaginary Man while Bloo became the evil sidekick of Imaginary Man's enemy Nemesister
  • The Futurama episode "Less Than Hero," in which Fry and Leela gain Super Strength, Super Speed, and Not Quite Flight Wall Jump as side effects of a medicated muscle rub. They are soon joined by Bender (despite his being "more on the supply side of crime"), who could do cool things already.
  • In Garfield and Friends, Orson's Farm occasionally featured Orson becoming "Power Pig" in both "reality" and dream sequences. In reality, his only powers seemed to be having a stupid costume (in his debut episode, he was used to distract the villain (a fox) with his appearance, which caused the fox to fall down laughing); in dream sequences, his powers consisted of something along the lines of Superman's (super strength and flying). In dream sequences, which usually consisted of a jazzed up version of the problem of the episode being solved, he was used as an inspiration for what Orson did in "real life".
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy had the episode "Super Zero" where Grim makes Billy a superhero with the power to squirt yogurt from his armpits. The boy then heads off to space to fight an evil space empire.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures had an episode where Jade was inflicted with all the powers of the talismans. She then dons a cape and calls herself "T-Girl." She reprises this role in another episode although with fewer powers. In season five, Jade's friend Larry gets the power of the Earth demon and starts behaving like a superhero with disastrous results.
  • Jimmy Neutron had the N-Men episode, where in an homage to the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, the kids are on their way back to Earth in their space ship (won on a game show in a previous episode) and accidentally get superpowers while passing through the Van Allen belt, each powers coming from what they were doing at the point.
    • Jimmy was armwrestling (becoming orange and going into a Hulk-like state whenever angry) with Cindy (becoming Wonder Woman, essentially), Libby was putting on vanishing cream (gaining invisibility and force field abilities), Sheen was on a massaging chair (becoming the Flash... his bladder suffered) and Carl belching while drinking soda (gaining super sonic belching abilities).
    • A later episode reveals that Jimmy recreated their N-Men powers and made them into packets of powder to be ingested. He has Carl distribute them to everyone, who mixes them up, resulting in himself and Libby swapping powers while Cindy swaps powers with Sheen (although at the end, after the powers wear off, Cindy takes a swig of her own packet and regains her old powers so that she can dispose of a bomb).
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes featured an episode in the first season wherein Jimmy and Beezy became "Power Squid and Spaghetti Beezy", though unlike the typical formula for this trope, the powers were incredibly unorthodox. Season 2 would occasionally have the characters become their superhero forms again if the need arose but this time Heloise gained a superhero identity, Trouble Bubble Girl.
  • In Kim Possible, Kim and Ron each have a Superhero Episode — in "Go Team Go", Kim temporarily gains Hego's Super Strength, and in "The Fearless Ferret", Ron temporarily becomes the sidekick of the TV-Batman expy hero (actually a delusional actor).
  • An episode of Men In Black: The Series had an alien immigrant decide to become a superhero, so MIB HQ decides to make Agent J into a supervillain to stop him, and all the attention he's getting.
  • Monster Buster Club has an episode ("Comic Book Heroes") that features an alien nerd using the Earth as a place to store his billions of comic books. Cathy gets a hold of one series, "Liberty Lass", and pronounces herself a superheroine, Cathy Lass. She doesn't gain any new powers, but that doesn't matter because she usually has whatever wacky alien power she needs for any given situation anyway.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has "The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well", an episode where Rainbow Dash goes on an ego trip after saving some ponies from accidents and being called a hero. Her thunder is stolen by the eponymous masked pony. Mare-Do-Well's costume is a homage to Darkwing Duck's, and some of her fans are seen carrying signs with a parody of the Batman: The Animated Series logo on them.
    • In the season 4 episode "Power Ponies", Spike and the Mane Six are accidentally pulled into the world of one of Spike's favorite superhero comics, and must protect the city of Maretropolis from the Mane-iac. Each member of the Mane Six becomes an Expy of a famous superhero; Rainbow Dash of The Mighty Thor or Storm, Pinkie Pie of The Flash, Rarity of Green Lantern, Applejack of Wonder Woman (with some Batman thrown in) and Fluttershy of The Incredible Hulk (yes really). Twilight Sparkle seems to be the odd one out, possibly being either Cyclops or Icemannote . Spike meanwhile regrettably gets forced into the role of the apparently useless Robin-like sidekick (but he ends up saving the team by the end of the episode).
  • In the first-season Pac-Man episode "Super Ghosts", Mezmaron's formula gives the Ghost Monsters super strength and other powers. Afterward, Pac-Man and his wife eat special power pellets that enable them to fly.
  • Interestingly, The Powerpuff Girls had one of these despite the main characters already being superheroes. After reading comic books, the girls decide to copy their favorite heroines in order to become better heroes, with Blossom, Buttercup and Bubbles taking on new heroic identities as Liberty Belle (notably, the actual name of a Legacy Heroine in the Justice Society of America), Spore (a Spawn Expy), and an Animesque cute rabbit character along the lines of Hello Kitty. It doesn't go well. The monster itself complains about it.
  • Quack Pack had "The Really Mighty Ducks", in which Professor von Drake has built a machine that grants superpowers. Our three protagonists use it, and emerge as... "Brain Boy!" "Captain Muscle!" "...and...the Really-Incredibly-Fast Guy!"
  • Sabrina: The Animated Series has one where Sabrina, Harvey and Salem end up getting sucked into a comic book that Harvey drew. In it, Harvey becomes Captain Harvtastic - who can create anything if he draws it with his pen gun. The rest of the supers have rather useless powers - such as Mega Girl (atomic tantrum power), Gazebo Boy (turns into a gazebo to trap enemies) and Calamari Queen (shoots squids out of her hands). The last one at least proves useful when Harvey's pen runs out of ink, and she remembers what squids are good for.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Bart and Lisa (as Stretch Dude and Clobber Girl) are attempting to foil the Villain Comic Book Guy (the Collector) during one of their Bizarro Halloween Episodes.
    • In a canon episode, Homer becomes the vigilante Pie Man, who throws pies at people while wearing a pie-tin mask on his face. The episode was largely a parody of the Spider-Man Trilogy.
  • South Park originally had "The Coon," when Cartman tries to become a vigilante called the Coon, proves really bad at it, and gets pissed off when another Kid Hero named Mysterion shows up and proves far more popular. The episode ends with the audience unsure of which kid Mysterion is. Both characters later reappear in the "Coon and Friends" trilogy, where the other kids also have superhero identities and form a team, only for Cartman to get kicked out and team up with Cthulu. The latter episodes are actually surprisingly dark after revealing that Mysterion, aka Kenny, is a Death Seeker because, unlike the others, his power—constantly dying—is both real and really unpleasant.
  • Spongebob Squarepants: One episode has SpongeBob, Patrick, Sandy and Squidward all gain superpowers to fight Mermaid Man's enemies. Amusingly, their powers come from wearing the ridiculous costumes. A later episode was "Patrick-man!" where Patrick tries to be a superhero.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
    • Several episodes in the 1987 TMNT cartoon series including "Super Irma", "Raphael Vs. The Volcano," "Night of the Dark Turtle," and "Super Hero for a Day."
    • The 2003 series has several as well, as a Justice League type team actually exists in this world, and Michelangelo occasionally dips into his persona as "The Turtle Titan". Then there's the Alternate Reality Episode where he encounters the main cast in a world where they are ALL superheroes and Splinter is their archenemy.
  • From Tiny Toons the segment "Just-Us League of Super Toons" where Pluck play the role of Batman and Hamton the role of Robin. Buster play the role of Superman and introduces Plucky to the Just-Us League of Supertoons, consisting of himself, Wonder Babs (Babs as Wonder Woman), Little Dasher (Little Beeper as The Flash), Hawk Loon (Shirley as Hawgirl), Aquamutt (Byron Basset as Aquaman), Pink Canary (Sweetie as Black Canary), Keen Arrow (Calamity Coyote as Green Arrow), and Scentenna (Fifi as Zatanna).
  • A variation for X-Men: Evolution, which was already about superheroes. It overlaps with Girls' Night Out Episode and Walk On The Wild Side Episode - where Jean, Kitty, Rogue, Amara and Tabitha decide to form a vigilante crime fighting group known as the Bayville Sirens. Complete with black leather outfits too.
  • Wander over Yonder: In "The Boy Wander", Wander dons a mask and cape (and an uncharacteristically serious demeanor) to take on Dr. Screwball Jones, a Mad Scientist whose twisted idea of bringing happiness and laughter to others is through Tickle Torture.