Bierly is the author of the somewhat unconventional book Stronger than Spinach: The Secret Appeal of the Famous Studios Popeye Cartoons (BearManor Media, 2009). This revisionist treatise posits the belief that the Famous Studios episodes are far more than a forgettable, derivative mockery of the earlier Fleischer body of work that is the focus of most studies of the Popeye franchise. He believes that these cartoons are important in their own right and deserve to be reappraised as the imaginative escapades that were themselves ground-breaking in the post-World War II era. His assessment flies in the face of orthodox Popeye scholarship in which there is widespread agreement that the Fleischer work is far and away the more creative, artistic, and valuable of the two productions.
Bierly's descriptions of Olive as "sexy" and Bluto as "handsome, hunky, suave, and sly" have not always been agreed upon, however, his fascination with the cartoons of the Famous era appears to have struck a chord with members of the Baby Boomer and later generations for whom these cartoons were standard childhood fare.