Meet Your Four Father

But don't mention Frisco! Graphic talk from Brian Wood, comic world star and Park Slope dad

On a warm afternoon this spring, Wood agreed to do a tour around lower Manhattan, stopping, briefly, at the areas featured in his books. Here was the Little Italy street where a DMZ suicide bomber took a dozen lives. There's the sushi joint frequented by Riley, the protagonist of New York Four. Wandering through the East Village, Wood points up at a rooftop and remembers a few December 31sts, shivering in the cold, waiting for the New Year to roll in.

"I guess I absorb a lot of my own history into these books," he says. "They're very retro, in that way."

Four, also illustrated by Kelly, "is an extremely personal book," a mirror of Wood's time at Parsons, when he was still feeling out New York. As each character encounters a new landmark, the lens pulls back and offers some historical perspective. ("If anyone here tries to sell you something," Wood writes, for example, of Washington Square Park, "trust me, they're shady and you don't want what they got.")

The life of Riley: From Wood and Kelly's The New York Four
Copyright (c) DC Comics
The life of Riley: From Wood and Kelly's The New York Four

"It's easy for someone to hit the major sign posts—the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building," says Lost's Vaughn. "What Brian does is find those little pieces of the city. He's not a tourist. He's a New Yorker having a conversation with and about New York."

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