Born in Wilrijk, near Anvers, Werner Goelen, otherwise known as
Griffo, studied for 7 years at the Academy of Fine Arts. He then lived
for three years within a community of artists, where he discovered
comic books through the underground magazine the community
published, "Spruit." Meanwhile, he was also doing illustrations and
caricatures for the magazines Mimo, Extra and Humo.
In 1975, Griffo took on Franquin's series "Modest et Pompon" for Tintin magazine. But he just wasn't all that convinced by his dabbling in comedy, and so he got into advertising, with a little foray into erotic illustration for Biofot Publishing.
He traveled widely, and then returned to realism with the publisher Michel Deligne, for whom he created "L'ordre du Dragon Noir" (1982), a Bob Wilson adventure which was a precursor to the series "Munro," which Griffo published with Dupuis, with François Di Giorgio on the texts. The fourth and final episode of the series was written by André Taymans.
Philippe Vandooren, then editor-in-chief of Spirou mag, offered him the opportunity of illustrating the "S.O.S Bonheur," tales conceived by Jean Van Hamme for a TV series project that never came to fruition. This trilogy, converted into comic book format, inaugurated the 1988 Aire Libre collection, in which Griffo would feature again in 1994 with "Monsieur Noir," a two-part fantasy series with Jean Dufaux on script.
As he became increasingly inspired by adult comics, Griffo focused his output on storylines by Jean Dufaux, and the pair of them released "Béatifica Blues" (1986, 3 volumes, Dargaud), "Samba Bugatti" (1992, 4 volumes, Dargaud), "Giacomo C." (1988, 10 volumes, Glénat).
He also collaborated with Patrick Cothias on the historical epic "CinJis Qan" (1996, Glénat), and on "Le Pension du docteur Eon" for the Signé collection at Le Lombard, in 1998. He stayed with Le Lombard for "Vlad," created in collaboration with Swolfs, and then "Golden Dogs," with Stephen Desberg (2016, Europe Comics).