An attempt by Project Cadmus to create a clone of Super-Soldier with the ability to control gravity is sabotaged, and a young clone of researcher Peter Parker (who was killed during the "accidental" lab explosion) emerges from the wreckage. The young boy immediately runs up a wall in confusion. The head of the project, Thunderbolt Ross, feeling sorry for the clone, and feeling responsible for the boy's welfare, legally adopts him (giving the boy the last name of Ross) and names him Pete (after his genetic father). Pete and his "Uncle Gen" were a happy family until General Ross is killed by a mugger. Pete swears that he will face danger and make himself the center of attention so others wouldn't have to be, feeling he had been dismissed as just a boy during the incident. Inspired by his spider-like ability to walk on walls, he fashions a costume and called himself Spider-Boy. Spider-Boy later returns to Project Cadmus, where he is given a special pistol called a "web-shooter", which fires strands of synthetic webbing. As a Cadmus agent, Spider-Boy is assigned to battle genetic monstrosities, but as Pete Ross, he is a photographer for the sleazy tabloid, the Daily Bugle (to get incriminating photos of himself with attractive super-heroines, having become a major pop cultural phenomenon after his debut). Spider-Boy faces many perils, such as giant reptilian killers and symbiotic clones, but his biggest challenge is getting set up on a blind date with Mary Jane Watson (the Insect Queen). Surprisingly the two hit it off, and are now engaged. Now Spider-Boy faces his biggest adventure: marriage.
The character not only combines attributes of Spider-Man and Superboy (Pre and Post-Crisis), but his secret identity of Pete Ross is a reference to Superboy's best friend in Smallville. The name also reflects Spider-Man clone Ben Reilly's fashion of naming himself, being a composite name inspired by the two most significant influences in his life. Both clones also alter their hair colour to blond in their secret identities.
Spider-Boy's primary power is the ability to redirect his own personal gravity, allowing him to shift the pull of gravity sideways and walk on walls. He can redirect it inward and boost his strength to superhuman levels, or lower his own gravity to leap higher and farther than a normal human. He supplements his abililty with a Web-Shooter, a pistol that fires streams of synthetic webbing for the purposes of entangling enemies, or firing web-lines to swing from.