Pete was born in the town of Smallville, and grew up to become a classmate of Clark Kent, Lana Lang and Whitney Fordham at Weisinger Public School. He used to tease and bully Clark, a strange young boy in their class, who was known to be quiet, private, and pensive.
When both boys were 13 years old and riding on a school bus, Pete started bullying Clark (who ignored him) when Lana Lang, the latter's friend, came to Clark's defense. Pete called Clark several names before the bus driver suddenly lost control of the bus and drove off a bridge and into the river. The bus started to sink to the bottom of the river, and all the people aboard started to drown, when Clark escaped out the back of the bus, and pushed it up the riverbank with his incredible strength. During that time, Pete was swept out of the bus, and was being dragged away by the river's current, but Clark dove in after him and practically threw the bigger boy back onto the riverbank.
Pete's mother, Helen, confronted Clark's parents, Jonathan and Martha Kent, believing Clark's actions were acts of God, who were adamant that their son was not special. While his mother was fearful of Clark, Pete was forever changed by the experience and stopped bullying Clark after the incident.
A short time later, Pete reluctantly joined Kenny Braverman and several other children who decided to confront Clark to prove the quiet young boy was not special. They taunted and pushed Clark to the ground, but were unable to illicit a response. Noticing the attention of Clark's father, the group quickly walked away, except for Pete who had not forgotten that Clark had saved everyone's lives. He offered his hand to help Clark off the ground and calmly acknowledged Jonathan Kent before walking off quietly.
Years later as an adult, Pete was working at the local IHOP when the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Lois Lane arrived, wanting to know the story of the bus accident that had occurred 20 years ago. Pete subsequently sent Lois to Martha Kent for the answers she was looking for.
During General Zod's invasion of Earth, Pete saw two ships flying overhead toward the Kent Farm on his way to work. Later during the Battle of Smallville, Pete was witness to the first appearance of Kal-El to the public, as the latter fought 2 malevolent Kryptonians on Smallville's Main Street. During a fight with Faora-Ul, Kal-El crashed into the IHOP during, and Pete seemingly recognized the superpowered man in the red cape as Clark, though Pete did not have much time to discern the man's face, since Faora promptly hurled her opponent all the way across Smallville, into a bank vault.
After Superman's "death" facing Doomsday, he was last seen attending Clark's funeral alongside Clark's closest friends and family members. When Martha Kent mentioned she had to pay the funeral director, Peter mentioned it was taken care of by an anonymous donor.
- In most Superman comics, Pete Ross is the only friend of Clark Kent. At first, in Man of Steel, he is a bully, but eventually becomes friends with Clark.
- Pete was the third person (after Lois and Father Leone) to learn Clark's identity as Kal-El, and one of only 5 people that currently know (along with Martha, Lois, Vance, and Father Leone).