World of Warcraft is paying its own special tribute to late comics luminary Stan Lee (opens in new tab) with a special addition to its NPC ranks. The new character, named Stanley, occasionally appears in Stormwind Keep wearing the usual guard gear, but with the helmet traded out for a familiar pair of brown tinted sunglasses. Wowhead (opens in new tab) also spotted models of Stanley wearing Orgrimmar guard armor and plain clothes, which means he's likely meant to appear in other places as well. He always did have a way of showing up where you least expected him.
In the video above, you can see Stanley materialize in Stormwind Keep's library (an appropriate place for the prolific writer to appear) then walk its halls, pausing at one point to proclaim "Excelsior!" Stanley makes his way down the front steps of the keep, where he walks toward the memorial statue of King Varian Wrynn and fades away.
World of Warcraft already oozes pop-culture references, so this not-quite-subtle tribute is hardly immersion breaking. The long-running MMORPG also has its share of memorials to real-life people who are no longer with us, mostly Blizzard employees and fans of the game. Stan Lee wasn't a big WoW player (as far I know anyway) but the breadth of his creations likely inspired many of the folks at Blizzard.
Stan Lee died in November 2018 and I imagine we'll see even more prominent tributes to him in the months ahead. I've gotta admit, I totally knew it was coming but I still choked up when a Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse post-credits scene (opens in new tab) gave Lee an understated memorial.
Stan Lee is gone but we sure do have a lot to remember him by. Start with our guide to every Stan Lee Marvel movie cameo (opens in new tab).