In Memoriam, John Bierly (1975-2020)


It’s no secret that running BOF has allowed me to do some really cool things over the years.  Set visits, movie premieres, and being able to call folks like Michael Uslan, Christopher Nolan, and Emma Thomas friends are things I never dreamed would happen.

However, the best thing about running BOF is all the people I have met and brought together.

BOF isn’t a website, it’s a family.


And the 23rd of January 2020, BOF lost a beloved family member, John Bierly.

I knew John for nearly two decades as he was amongst the very first “BOF’ers.”  He was one of the first members of the old (and now-defunct) BOF Message Board and it was there I noticed that this guy was one hell of a writer and eventually asked him if he was interested in writing comic book reviews for BOF.

He accepted the offer.

Over the years, John reviewed DETECTIVE, BATWOMAN, and various other Batman-related comics, and he also was a part of many BOF podcasts.

However, John is probably most known on BOF for his reviewing run on BATMAN.

Starting with the beginning of Scott Snyder’s run on Batman’s flagship DC Comics title and all the way through the Tom King era, I don’t believe John missed reviewing a single issue or a deadline.


Since BATMAN is my personal favorite Batman comic, we’d talk about almost every issue in various ways — email, text, phone — once it was released.  We’d share our love/hate/WTF?! moments of damn near every issue since “The New 52” commenced almost a decade ago, through “Rebirth,” and right on to, well, whatever DC Comics period we’re in today.

John decided to stay on as BOF’s BATMAN reviewer upon the end King’s run and was looking forward to seeing what new writer James Tynion III had to offer.  Here’s what he wrote in his final BATMAN review of issue #86 for BOF

Tynion is a popular writer, and his comics are rightfully celebrated by his fans. His Batman sensibilities and mine have always been a little bit off, but his enthusiasm here is infectious, and I think lots of readers are going to enjoy his approach that gets back to basics in a way that honors King’s run while also confidently declaring a vision and direction that are fresh and exciting.  If you haven’t read BATMAN in a while, this is a great jumping-on point.

Again, John simply judged the issue on its own merits despite the misgivings he personally had with the new creative direction, and he gave BATMAN #86 and Tynion’s first issue an A.

BATMAN reviews on BOF will never be the same.

Yes, John Bierly was the best damn writer BOF has ever had, and I don’t think anyone who has written for me — including yours truly — would disagree.  But most importantly, John was an awesome human being.

Whenever I had some bad times with BOF for various reasons, John always reached out to make sure I was OK and to tell me he was there for me and had my back.

He was — as we say in Texas — “good people.”

John, RIP my friend.  I know how much you loved not only Batman, but STAR WARS too.  I hope the picture I used for the tribute is OK.

You’re now part of The Force brother…and the Batsignal too. – Bill “Jett” Ramey

John Roger Bierly, Jr., 44, died Thursday, January 23, 2020. He was born October 15, 1975 in Louisville, Kentucky to John Roger and Roberta Kaye Vance Bierly.

He worked as an Administrative Assistant for Stemm Family Dentistry for over 20 years, and was passionate about writing.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Roberta “Berta” Kaye Bierly, grandparents, Paul and Mary Bierly and Robert and Mariette “Pete” Vance.  He is survived by his Father, John Roger Sr (Lori King) Loving Friend, Samantha Kacho, many Aunts, Uncles and Cousins.

Funeral Mass will be held at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Elizabeth, Indiana, 11:00 AM Monday, January 27, 2020. Visitation will begin Sunday, January 26, from 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Gehlbach & Royse Funeral Home in Corydon, Indiana. There will be a prayer service on Sunday evening at 7:30 PM.

Burial will be in St. Peter’s Catholic Cemetery, Elizabeth, Indiana.

The family request in lieu of flowers memorial donations be made to St. Peter’s Cemetery Fund. – John’s Official Obituary