With kids across the country gearing up for homework, books, and teachers’ dirty looks, it is the perfect time to look back at some of our favorite comic book covers featuring characters at school.
I had to set some parameters to limit the list, because if we included romance comics, funny animal books, and high-school hijinks comics then we would have been sifting through thousands of covers. So I decided to stick strictly with books featuring heroes, villains, and other “action” characters.
So here are our top 15 covers, each representing a different part of the school experience.
RIDING THE BUS
The wheels on the bus may go ‘round and ‘round, but they came to a dead stop on the cover of the one-shot Detention Comics #1 (1996) with art by Joe Phillips featuring Robin, Superboy, and Guy Gardner in his Warrior persona.
SMILE FOR THE CAMERA
The yearbook wouldn’t be the same without a class photo. Here the group of super-powered psychics get together on the cover of this variant cover for Generation Zero #9 (April 2017) by Brent Peeples. It was the final issue of the series and didn’t end well for everyone at Rook High.
HANGING IN THE HALLWAY
Ah, the fun of chilling in the hall waiting for the tardy bell to ring! As Nicola Scott and Doug Hazelwood show us on the cover of Teen Titans #90 (February 2011), it wasn’t always easy on those poor, defenseless lockers. Or Kid Flash apparently.
I know I said no “high school hijinks” books, but the crossover makes this one eligible. You will see I use that same loophole again later. Anyway, just the thought of nails on the chalkboard may make your skin crawl, but imagine if they were cat claws! Catwoman torments Archie Andrews and Betty Cooper on Matthew Dow Smith’s variant cover for Archie Meets Bat-Man ’66 #2 (October 2018).
This might be more of a FIREPOWER drill. Nothing says “back to school” like the Punisher, right? Well, back from 1992 to 1994 he starred in a series of annual specials featuring multiple stories based around schools. This cover is from Punisher Back to School Special #2 (October 1993) featuring the unmistakable art of Bill Sienkiewicz.
TRAPPED ON CAMPUS
Zot’s girlfriend and adventuring partner Jenny is feeling a bit “caged up” at Vanderbilt High while wanting to be anywhere else. This cover of Zot! #28 (September 1989) is by creator Scott McCloud.
Every superhero has an arch nemesis, but are any as dreaded as final exams? DC Superhero Girls: Finals Crisis (July 2016), is the first of a series of six graphic novels, with a fun cover by Yancey Labat. And how clever is that title? Riffing off of Final Crisis is genius.
SMILE FOR THE CAMERA, PART 2
We cannot leave the school staff out of this! Here are the instructors of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters along with the student body as of New X-Men #126 (July 2002) as drawn by Frank Quitely.
REPORT TO DETENTION
Damian Wayne and Jon Kent are literally forced to spend time in detention on this Tyler Kirkham variant cover of Super Sons #1 (April 2017). Tyler also did versions with Catwoman and Poison Ivy as the detention teachers, and even one that combined all three, but the black and white background and all the Joker’s craziness on the board makes this one my favorite.
We have all had that moment when nature called right in the middle of class. Here it happens to the students of the Avengers Academy during a lesson taught by Your Friendly Neighborhood Teacher on the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #661 (July 2001) by Ed McGuinness and Morry Hollowell.
Wondering about the credentials of a new substitute was pretty common, but you don’t have to wonder about these teachers. They HAVE no credentials! The cover of Showcase #65 (December 1966) by Mike Sekowsky and Mike Esposito shows us the Inferior Five become teachers at the Academy for Super-Heroes. What could possibly go wrong?
Nothing says high school like a sock hop at Riverdale High. Told you we would see Archie and the gang again, but you might not have expected to see the Punisher twice on this list! It was a crazy crossover that started in Archie Meets the Punisher #1 (August 1994) with a cover by Stan Goldberg and Henry Scarpelli.
SHOW AND TELL
Superboy had a lot of school-related covers, but Superboy #117 (December 1964) is fantastic in that it features a visit from the Legion of Super-Heroes who apparently came all the way back from the 30th century to take part in Show and Tell at Smallville High. Of course, they did. This classic cover is by Curt Swan and Sheldon Moldoff.
APPLE FOR TEACHER
On the cover of Justice League Europe #6 (September 1989), Bart Sears shows us the JLE’s reaction to their foreign language instructor. You can certainly see the look on Wally West’s face, and the apple perched on his desk.
TANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
Ah, the halcyon days of burning buildings, battle armor, katanas, and tanks on the school grounds. Wait…what?? Well, it was just an excuse to include this cover to Ninja High School #3 (August 1987) by creator Ben Dunn.
There you have it! Did I miss one of your favorites? Let me know in the CPG Forums here: Comics Price Guide Forum Post
You better hurry, though, the second bell is about to ring!
By Rob Otto