Join Mackenzie (Mack) and her flightless owl friend, Brick on all of their adventures! The Like a Brick comic series (LaB) is created, written, and designed by Bonn Turkington and illustrated by Nick “Bug-Off” Collom. You can take a look at more of Nick’s work on his Deviant Art Page by clicking Here.
Set in the world of Disparia, follow Mack and Brick as they try to create the first flying machine. See how Mack’s crazy inventions will one day change Vahn’s life in a way he never could have imagined.
Mackenzie (Mack) Smith was born in Floran City to Marshall and Eve Smith in 221 EM. Despite living in Floran, a city known for its liberal philosophies and creative thinkers, both of her parents were strict disciplinarians who taught their kids to follow the rules and prepare for a future in business. Their idea was that, dreaming led to failure while careers led to security. Bills and emergency expenses were a part of life, they believed, and the only way to be ready was to plan for them financially.
Mack’s home was modest but accommodating, at least from a physical perspective. Emotionally Mack was almost completely ignored as she grew from a toddler to a young woman. Her older siblings were winning debate competitions, playing the violin or piano in local concerts, or running successful businesses. Mack, meanwhile, spent most of her time outdoors exploring the forests around Floran or tinkering with junk she found lying around. From a young age she began building complex toys and fixing anything and everything she could get her hands on.
While she didn’t find acceptance within her family, Mack made several close friends who were part of the various artistic movements and styles of the time. Though she wasn’t a painter, singer, musician, or sculptor, she exuded creativity and artistry in her increasingly complex machines and contraptions.
By age 12 Mack’s focus shifted from simply creating or repairing machines to what would become her life’s work—trying to fly. Floran City sits at the edge of a great cliff with a sheer, precipitous drop to the east. Mack was fascinated by the birds who would hover just above the edge of the cliffs, caught on the strong updrafts. Watching those birds she knew then and there that her dream and goal in life was to create a flying machine, to be the first person in the world to experience powered flight. Her first flying creation was a kite with a six foot wingspan which she flew over the cliffs in Her friends couldn’t help but be amazed.
But only her small group of friends and a few others in school ever took notice of Mack’s talent for creating. Her parents, even up to and through her high school graduation, never recognized her abilities. Her friends went so far as to set up a small booth selling her kites during the city’s regular festivals.
When it came time for Mack to go to college her parents demanded she attend the University of Westlake East, one of the nation’s foremost business and economics colleges. When she enrolled in the University of Floran instead, her parents kicked her out of her home and refused to pay for her tuition.
Sam was a brilliant but distracted student. When she focused on her studies she achieved the highest grades in the entire school. But more often than not she would skip classes to pursue her own projects and goals. Her capricious attendance and carefree attitude endeared her to some of her peers and professors. On the whole, however, she irritated her professors by showing up late, skipping classes, and treating the entire experience casually. It wasn’t that she didn’t care about school. Rather, she was so absorbed in her own projects that sometimes she simply didn’t have the time for school.
When Mack made friends with some of the students from the engineering department her school life changed dramatically. She found a group with whom she both identified and felt comfortable. Soon she was pursuing an engineering degree and taking classes that she actually enjoyed. But that momentum was short lived. Instead of allowing her to focus on her studies she soon became even more distracted. The problem was the program itself. Now she had access to all the technology, tools, and materials she could dream of. And instead of following the curriculum she took her own course and spent all of her time trying to create a flying machine.
Eventually Mack was brought before the dean of the college and a full disciplinary committee. After a lengthy meeting they decided the best course of action was to expel Mack from the college. Her grades were good despite her absence (almost perfect in fact), but her attitude and attendance meant she didn’t fit in. The disciplinary board did understand how intelligent and capable was, and offered her a unique proposition. They said she could return at any time to finish her final year, that they would keep her credits on record and allow her to re-enter the program at a future date, so long as she was willing to maintain perfect attendance and treat her studies (and the school) with respect.
Mack thanked the dean and committee for their kindness and walked out the doors of the university for what she assumed would be the last time.
With the little bit of mig she had made selling her increasingly amazing inventions and the kindness of a friend, Mack moved to a tiny cabin on the Arodil side of Alpine Mountains. With ample supplies in the form of junk and scrap metal covering the once industrious farming and mining outpost, she was free to create what she wanted.
One day, while exploring the woods around her home, Mack happened upon an injured owlet. She could see that the creature’s wing had been damaged by a predator. She rushed the owlet back to her home and spent the next weeks nursing the young creature back to health.
After weeks of helping the owlet it was clear that the wing was damaged beyond repair and that it would never be able to fly. Knowing she couldn’t turn it loose in the wild Mack decided to adopt the bird and, lovingly, named the flightless creature Brick.
Mack and Brick were inseparable. Everywhere Mack went Brick demanded to follow. Usually riding on her shoulder, the flightless owl even joined her during machine tests. And it wasn’t long before Brick became Mack’s biggest fan, helper, and advocate. When Mack began developing flying machines in earnest Brick, the flightless owl, was all too eager to join in. During the first test of a set of flying wings (which were nothing more than a large kite strapped to Mack’s back), Brick was there, ready to join in, wearing his newly created owl goggles.
While the flight was not successful, Mack and Brick have only grown closer over the past few years. Mack and Brick, a pair of flightless friends looking to the heavens, are both determined to one day create a flying machine they can use to soar through the air above Atla.