Subscript / Superscript Text not using TeX or Mathtext?

Is there any chance to get subscript / superscript

    > formatting for text in Matplotblib without using TeX or
    > Mathtext?

We special cased numerical superscripting (10^3) to make log plots
faster and to keep the fonts consistent. But we haven't done this for
general superscripting. Note that there is a bug in the current which prevents event this from working, as Arnd Baeker noted
in a recent post. Fortunately, it is a one line fix so if you do need
this feature make the corrections suggested there. Also, you could
hack rgxsuper in to match a larger class of strings, which
would give you at least superscripting w/o mathtext or TeX.

May I ask, why you want to avoid mathtext? My guess is that you don't
like the fonts, and this is perfectly understandable. I would like to
rewrite mathtext to work with arbitrary fonts rather than the cm*
ones, but it is a question of time and priorities.

If you tell us why you don't want to use TeX or mathtext, we might be
better positioned to suggest alternatives or workarounds.