Even though he has a great career, he is deeply discontented because he thinks of himself as being ugly and therefore he lacks social skills. He thinks back to his childhood in Smallville when he was called "Mr. Inferiority Complex". He is deeply jealous of Clark Kent since he has gained popularity in adulthood while working for television station WGBS-TV.
Joe Silver decides to use his invention of a dream-based time machine that allows his astral body to travel back in time and possess his teenage body. This also somehow gives him superhuman powers to do anything that he dreams. He uses his newfound powers to turn his weak body into a muscled one. He dons a black costume and gives himself the name Astralad.
Silver decides that he will be a greater hero than Superboy in order to gain fame. He also wants everyone to know that he is really Joseph Silver in order to fix his social life, but Superboy, thinking of Joseph Silver's family stops him repeatedly from revealing his secret identity. Superboy finally confronts Astralad and explains the dangers of letting out his secret. Astralad, however, just assumes Superboy is jealous and flies off.
Astralad decides to kidnap Clark Kent in order to use him as a bargaining chip to best Superboy. Clark claims to recognize Joe's voice, and Astralad tells him the full story of his origin. Clark Kent and Astralad battle and Clark's Superboy costume is revealed during the fight, but Superboy manages to fool Astralad into thinking that it is his dream powers that turn Clark into Superboy due to wish fulfillment.
Astralad seeing what a mess he has made and how foolish it was to change Clark Kent, of all people, to Superboy, decides that it was wrong to try to change the past and time travels back to modern times (NSB No. 3, Mar 1980: "New Super Star of Smallville!"; NSB No. 4, Apr 1980: "Look At Me World, I'm Astralad!").