Ever since the Silver Age, it has been somewhat of a standard to name alternate universes using numbers. DC had Earths-2, 3, 4, etc. Sure, they had Earths-C, S, and X, but that’s not the point. Currently, DC has 52 Earths, at least 51 of which have a number. Sometime during Captain Britain, the Marvel universe became known as Earth-616 and alternate Earths have since been numbered, retroactively in some cases.

It seems to me, though, that this would be problematic, especially in Marvel’s case. Marvel has Omniversal entities, such as Roma, that seem to have developed this system of categorizing. They refer to the various Earths by number. But that implies a finite number of Earths, right? I like the notion of a finite number of Earths, but wouldn’t the numbers eventually become too hard to remember? Imagine if someone in the Exiles said something like, “Remember that time we traveled to Earth-33629?” The other Exile would likely say, “Which one was that again?” They might look it up later, they might not.

I’ll come back to that. Also within numbering, you (or maybe it’s just that I) would think that worlds with similar events would be near each other within that big multiverse grid. But they aren’t always. One “New Universe” Earth might be thousands away from the one with which we are most familiar. How does that happen?

In the interest of memory and the lack of organization current amongst the multiple Earths, I propose that we name them like Friends episodes, “The One where/in which/that…” and fill in the blank. And an Omniversal guardian could even use the fictional publications of other worlds (as I suppose within the confines of the fictional Omniverse all things fictional are real) if necessary. Now, the people who visit these realities (assuming they followed this system) might differ on how to reference it. This is only a mild concern, as such squabbles have been present since the Silver Age.

Thoughts?

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