It's like a normal school. Drab classrooms with blackboards, hallways with lockers — and a danger room. Maybe even a hidden hangar.
This is Superhero School
, where young superhumans go to learn about their powers. A subtrope of Extranormal Institute
, where it's often not the place that's unusual, but the students. And sometimes the faculty.
Often inverted by introducing a supervillain school.
Maybe we can excuse it for possibly being an Elaborate University High
. Often has Danger Room Cold Open
Compare with Academy of Adventure
, Wizarding School
, Ninja School
, Hero Academy
, and All-Ghouls School
. A dark take on this trope can turn it into a School For Scheming
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Anime and Manga
- To an extent, Duel Academia in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX — at least, it was designed specifically to train duelists strong enough to defend three dangerous forbidden cards from falling into the wrong hands, and it's a Weirdness Magnet for kids with the power to communicate with spirits from another world.
- Academy City in To Aru Majutsu no Index is dedicated to the study and development of psychic powers, with students who have undergone the development program comprising the vast majority of the population.
- The eponymous school in Gakuen Alice. While the "hero" part is debatable, it's a school for people with powers, most of which easily qualify as "super".
- The Death Weapon Meister Academy in Soul Eater is a school where shapeshifter weapons and those who wield them train to fight evil. Missions are part of their schoolwork
- The Trope Maker is Professor Charles Xavier's school in X-Men. Depending on the continuity, Emma Frost's school, the Massachusetts Academy, may count as a supervillain school if she is Xavier's foe.
- In fact, the Xavier Academy jumped around a bit between being a Superhero School, and a superhero base which happened to be disguised as a school, largely because, until Kitty Pryde joined the Chris Claremont "all-new all-different" X-Men's ages ranged from the 20's onwards, with none of them even of college age. The films cemented the concept in people's minds by depicting the X-men as teachers of a large non-superhero student body, and the Comic Books followed suit. Xavier's school now has a lot of non-superhero mutants of all ages, learning to control their powers as well as reading, writing, and 'rithmetic. A few of them 'graduate' to X-Men status. There's also a relatively new X-comic focusing on the students (of course, trouble seems to find them) that's pretty much a Spiritual Successor to Generation X and New Mutants. Its title changes a lot, though.
- It got to the point where Xavier's 'school' was so chock-full of adult superheroes that they changed the name from Xavier's School for Gifted Youngers to the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, making it a superhero college, and opened a franchise with the formerly evil rival Massachusetts Academy for Generation X.
- The fallout of the Schism storyline has Wolverine establishing the Jean Grey Institute for Higher Learning, largely featuring students from the now-defunct Xavier Institute
- Meanwhile, the fallout of Avengers vs. X-Men has a rogue Cyclops, Emma Frost, and Magneto running the "New Charles Xavier School for Mutants". While unlike any previous incarnation its existence is secret and it doesn't present itself as a real private school (Cyclops and his team being outlaws and all), there are classrooms and the senior members do teach newly manifested mutants.
- Shuster Academy from Sidekicks.
- PS238 — a superhero public school.
- And the Praetorian Academy, PS238's rival which is heavily troped to be a supervillain school: you've got your Evil Headmaster, your Military Discipline, your Faceless Minion Masks, your overly-militaristic student codenames, and of course the overwhelming arrogance that they are far superior to their rival school.
- Also, they cheat at soccer.
- Which is eventually subverted; the discipline and the minion masks, as it turns out, is not to create supervillains; it's because the headmaster uses them as methods to instill order and curtail what he views as tendencies towards becoming "uncontrolled" metahumans.
- The Phantom Lady became dean of Université Notre Dame des Ombres which is a French women's superhero boarding school. Or possibly villains school. It's a little unclear.
- The manga-inspired French comic book Sentai School.
- The Legion Academy from The Legion Of Super-Heroes.
- The comic Necessary Evil has the eponymous Supervillan School. They've also implied the existence of a good counterpart.
- The Avengers' Initiative program is somewhat like this, but blurs the line heavily between "school" and "boot camp." Not many other examples listed here take young teens and put sniper rifles in their hands...
- Initiative's successor Avengers Academy is a more traditional example, except it's more about training kids so they wouldn't become supervillains.
- In an upcoming arc, they are moving the academy to the old West Coast Avengers compound and adding a bunch of other teen heroes as students.
- Hero Camp is sort of like this, but, you know, summer camp instead of an actual school.
- The Seminary in The Intimates, where powered teens are sent by their stage parents to develop skills they wish they didn't have. Courses include Secret Identities (taught by an obvious analogue of Superman, right down to the glasses) and Morality (the instructor of which had over 32 confirmed kills in the Dark Age).
- The mini-series Grounded follows the only normal kid in the school for superpowered teens. In this case he's the odd one out for wanting to be a hero, in spite of his powerlessness; the other kids might be the children of superheroes and have abilities of their own, but in general they aren't interested in running off to try and save the world once they've graduated - most of them want to use their powers in the most self-serving way possible, and three in particular want to be villains!
- Pride High has this as its core premise: a gay/straight alliance at a superhero high school.
- The French comic Freaks' Squeele revolves around the students' life in a university for heroes, specialized in (pretty lame) bad guys and villains.
- Marvel 2099 had a Superhero Orphanage: the Xavier Shelter for Indigent Children in X-Nation 2099. Run by a group of warrior nuns called Sister Nicholas and the Howlin' Commandments.
- Super School a comic strip which feature in the Britsh comic The Beano. In this strip the idea of a superhero school is Played for Laughs. Extra points for the strip's title is almost the name of this trope.
- In All Fall Down, this is how Sophie learned to control her powers: she was coached by Plymouth, an ex-hero, along with a stack of 'How To' books.
- Liberty Vocational, in Naomi Novik's Will Supervillains Be On The Final series, offers classes ranging from designing costumes to discussing the ethics of superhero-dom.
- Gladstone's School for World Conquerors by Mark Andrew Smith and Armand Villavert, a comic series published by Image Comics in 2011 and collected as a graphic novel in 2012. Though this series also arguably fits in the Academy of Evil category, there are (spoiler) reasons why it also belongs here.
- The titular institute in The Umbrella Academy, though its seven students are never shown in a classroom or studying.
- Disney's Sky High, an almost platonic ideal of the trope, with retired superheroes as disgruntled teachers and a bunch of wannabe students, mostly the children of famous superheroes.
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians has Camp Half-Blood, a combination summer camp, training ground, and haven for demigods.
- In the My Brother Blubb book series, both a superhero school and a supervillain school are featured.
- Inverted by Catherine Jenks' Evil Genius series.
- The H.I.V.E. Series focuses on a school for supervillains.
- Drearcliff Grange is a 1930s girls' school which takes "talented" students in Kim Newman's Diogenes Club stories. Combined with Boarding School of Horrors for a parody of Girls' School stories of the period. (Incidentally, the headmistress makes it clear that she doesn't much care if one of her girls becomes a supervillain instead of a superhero, just so long as she makes use of her talent and doesn't settle for being mundane.)
- The very straightforwardly titled Superhero School, an illustrated book for kids by Aaron Reynolds and Andy Rash, published in 2009 by Bloomsbury. Leonard is the only kid on his block who can knock a baseball into orbit or clobber the occasional, rampaging lava monster, so he's not surprised when his parents switch him to superhero school. When he gets there, though, he's disappointed that his teacher, Mr. Blue Tornado, is much more interested in teaching fractions and multiplication than techniques for catching runaway trains or fighting space octopi.
- The Estate in The Rook trains students to use their supernatural powers.
- The House of Night.
- Kitty Burrows' The Posterchildren deals with a large group of characters connected to a school for mutants. The main book focuses on a group of students, but there are also stories focusing on parents, alumni, teachers, and people with even more tenuous connections. Wonderful if you prefer character and relationship driven stories over action.
Live Action TV
- The 4400 has a school set up to take in young returnees who may not be welcome in regular schools. Owing to genetic meddling, several of these children had abilities like precognition and electrical manipulation.
- Generation X got its own made-for-TV movie in 1996.
- Heroes has Tracy setting up one of these in a graphic novel.
- Psychonauts has a Superhero summer camp. Technically, though, they're not superheroes, but kids with Psychic Powers.
- This is the hook behind the Skeelz gang in Urban Rivals, being literally a private academy for burgeoning superhumans and comprising of students and faculty out for blood against punks stepping to their turf.
- Bad Guy High
- Subverted in the webcomic Everyday Heroes, where Summer Mighty attends a normal high school. Word of God has it that there is an after-school program for superhumans.
- In the Web Comic Evil Inc.., the eponymous corporation of supervillains started with an evil daycare center for employees' kids, and has recently moved up to an evil education program.
- The Heroes Of Crash were knockout gas and grappling hooks are considered school supplies
- The webcomic Magellan, which focuses on the special challenges of an aspiring Badass Normal.
- The webcomic Mallville Rules, which is a parody of the traditional super hero high school. It focuses on a normal kid and his idiot friends.
- Special School Which is actually a special class for super-powered students, but held in a normal school.
- The eponymous school of Overlord Academy is a school for supervillains.
- In Pulse a city is built in the Great Lakes near Michigan to hide a underground Government complex meant to train superhumans.
- The cartoon Hero High.
- On The Fairly OddParents, Dimmsdale Elementary briefly becomes one thanks to Timmy's wishing.
- The Spanish cartoon Hero Kids, heavily inspired by the Legion of Super-Heroes in addition to this trope.
- The Xavier Institute also features in X-Men: Evolution in its role as a Superhero School; however, the X-Men also attend regular school at Bayville High. How the kids going to two schools is explained to parents and such who don't know what Xavier's really is is never addressed. For the first two seasons it's the usual high school antics complicated by keeping their powers a secret while season three focuses on what happens when the Masquerade breaks and the other students find out their secret.
- At the Institute, they learn power control, at school they just have normal school. The Institute teaches them how to use their powers and fit in.
- Freedom City Play By Post maintains one of these, that continuity's version of the Claremont Academy mentioned above under Mutants & Masterminds. Claremont, a friendly place in a friendly city, is run by Duncan Summers, the local Expy of the Neal Adams-era Batman, with the standard tropes of the Superhero School genre. Only makes occasional use of canon characters, as of course they're all NPCs. Is somewhat more realistic than some super-schools in that kiddie supervillians get counseling.
- The Web Original fiction series Whateley Academy is built around this trope. In this universe, mutant traits manifest around fourteen years of age (often even if starting out older), so mutants from all over the world go to high school at Whateley Academy in Dunwich, New Hampshire. There is a danger room equivalent or two, martial arts, magic arts, and psychic arts classes, and curricula ranging from normal high school stuff all the way to 'workshop' courses that teach young mad scientsts how to make power armor and killer robots. Elective / specialist classes include Costume Shop, Intro to Flight, Psychic Ethics...
- However, the school is strictly neutral in regards to heroism / villainism — it accepts any and all mutants, good, evil or neutral; powerful, weak, or Class X and is protected and funded by the Whateley Charter: An agreement of several groups of heros/villains/"superneutrals" to provide a safe location for superpowered children to grow up at. The headmistress (a retired heroine of some renown) has had to remind several groups (especially the protagonists) of this fact repeatedly.
- Due to that neutrality, anyone who attacks the school or threatens any of its students or their families will face the wrath of the entire mutant/super world.
- The Global Guardians PBEM Universe features two of such schools: the Hyperion Academy is located in New York State and resembles a Ivy-League-prep school more than anything else. The Venture Institute in Minnesota outside the Twin Cities, and more resembles Sky High than anything else.
- The web serial The Descendants is packed to the gills with these; from the now-defunct Psionics Training and Application Academy run by the Big Bad, to the Liedecker Institute currently being run by the heroes in unknowing cooperation with the local Anti-Villain. There are at least three other schools mentioned so far as well.
- Inverted in the web video, Reunion: Doctor Steel calls up fellow mad scientist Agamemnon Tiberius Vacuum and invites him to the 10th annual Mad Scientist's reunion - implying that they attended some Mad Scientist school together in the past.
- Academy of Superheroes: Academy is the origin story of most of the ASH and STRAFE characters. It is set at the eponymous Academy of Superheroes.
- In Phaeton one of the buildings in the Orphanage doubles as this. Though the main characters do not generally go there.
- Super Academy is, as the title suggests, centered around one of these.