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 in the year 221 EM. Mack’s parents were strict disciplinarians who groomed their children for lives in business, despite living in the arts capital of Atla. Dreaming led to failure, and working led to security—this was the family motto. Happiness in life came from financial security, and that was that. And all the Smith children were expected to begin planning for their futures as soon as they were old enough to earn an allowance.
Mack’s home was modest but accommodating, at least from a physical perspective. Mack was the youngest child in her family. From the time she could walk, it was clear Mack had her own goals and wanted to do things her own way. She didn’t hate business or enterprise—she just found them (and her family’s obsession with them) dreadfully boring. While her siblings were winning debate competitions, creating investment portfolios, or starting their own businesses as teenagers, Mack spent most of her time outdoors exploring the forests around Floran or tinkering with junk she found behind local shops and markets. Instead of learning the ins and outs of business, Mack found happiness building complex toys and fixing anything and everything she could get her hands on. She was only five years old when she built her first go-cart, which she used to roll down the steep hills of the Floran Hills and Forest.
While her parents did not approve of her “renegade and rogue behavior,” Mack found close friends beyond her family circle. 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 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 more than 1,000 feet to the ocean below. Mack was fascinated by the birds that would hover just above the edge of the cliffs, caught on the strong updrafts. While watching the birds hover and soar, she decided she would create the world’s first flying machine and be the first person in Disparia to fly across the continent.
A year later, shortly after her 13th birthday, Mack created a wearable human-sized kite. With help from a few friends and plenty of sturdy rope, she took her first plunge off the cliffs. After a few moments of freefalling, the updrafts caught the glider’s wide wings. Before she knew it, she was floating through the air, gliding up and down along the edge of the cliffs. It wasn’t powered flight, but she was doing it. She was flying!
As remarkable as her first attempt at flight was, only her small group of friends and a few others in school ever took notice of Mack’s triumph. Her parents, even up to and through her high school graduation, never recognized her first achievement and subsequent “glides” as she called them (most people disbelieved it was even possible). In an attempt to appease her parents while continuing her quest for flight, Mack and her closest friends tried selling her gliders during the summer arts festivals (though that only lasted a season, as the gliders were deemed unsafe and untested, and therefore illegal to sell).
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 and home to four generations of Smith graduates. When she enrolled in the University of Floran instead, her parents kicked her out of their home and refused to pay for her tuition.
Mack was a brilliant but distracted student at University. When she focused on her studies, she achieved perfect grades. 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, who saw in her behavior the embodiment of everything Floran City stood for. But 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.
After completing her first year of University, a guidance counselor suggested Mack enroll in an engineering program as a way to help turn her passions into actual school progress. But instead of allowing her to focus on her studies, she soon became even more distracted. 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. 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 did not meet the University’s standards. The disciplinary board did understand how intelligent and capable she was and offered her a unique proposition. They said she could return at any time to finish her final year, 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 generosity of her best friend, Linda, 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 without interruption or distraction.
Mack immediately settled into a routine that saw her building one creation after another. While none of her early inventions achieved what she hoped—flight—each failure was a step toward success and a lesson in how not to fly. To Mack, it was only a matter of time before she learned how to fly.
Mack had been living in her mountain home for a little less than a year before she had an experience that would change her life forever. 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. It was lying on the ground, unresponsive, covered in dried blood. Mack 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 it would survive but would never be able to fly. Knowing she couldn’t turn it loose in the wild, Mack decided to adopt the flightless bird and lovingly named it 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 tests. It wasn’t long before Brick became Mack’s biggest fan, helper, and advocate. When Mack began developing flying machines in earnest, Brick was all too eager to join in, hoping to achieve the same goal Mack aimed for—soaring through the air. During the first test of a set of flying wings (which were an evolution of her earliest gliders), Brick was there, ready to join in, wearing his newly created owl goggles.
While powered flight remains and elusive target, Mack and Brick have only grown closer over the past few years. Mack has the unrestrained passion and creativity to think up the most unusual creations, and Brick has the reason and cool head to make sure Mack’s dreams are reined in by reality and other important things, like physics. Mack and Brick, a pair of flightless friends looking to the heavens, are determined to one day create a flying machine they can use to soar through the air above Atla.