The year was 2018. The place, Philadelphia.

The city — a hardscrabble metropolis of hungry underdogs and steel skyscrapers — was producing and introducing mascots at a rate never before seen.

Soon the entire population of Philadelphia would find itself at the mercy of these furry factotums who slowly ingratiated themselves into the cultural fabric of the birthplace of America.

But were these creatures friends or were they fiends? Only time would tell.

On Monday, the Please Touch Museum introduced its new mascot, Squiggles, making him the third new mascot introduced in Philly in a month. Just two weeks prior, Gritty — the Flyers mascot — made his debut at the Please Touch Museum and on Sept. 10, the Philadelphia Union introduced its new mascot, Phang, a snake with limbs.

SEPTA also put out a call for ideas for a new mascot last week, even though the public transit agency already has one. The responses were just about what you'd expect from the fine folks of Philadelphia.

The reason for the mass mascot migration to Philly is unclear. Do mascots subsist solely on Tastykakes? Do they consume only city-wide specials? Do their migratory patterns end at the banks of the Schuylkill?

It's not like Philly was a city longing for a mascot. In the opinion of many, the Phillie Phanatic is already the greatest mascot in major league sports. Trying to compete with him is a no-win game, like trying to compete with Beyonce at anything. Any Philly mascot for the rest of time will undoubtedly be compared to the Phanatic — and will fail miserably. And they should.

But what's been surprising about Gritty's rise is how he went from reviled to revered in just days. In two weeks he's already made the late-night talk show rounds, been immortalized in tattoos, had a beer named after him, and has his own trading card.

The decision by Gritty's creators to not play it safe, to go as weird as possible with this googly-eyed Muppet-like master of mayhem, may prove fruitful for the Flyers in an age where there is no such thing as a bad meme.

Will Squiggles, who is also a creature of an undefinable nature, ride the same wave of popularity or slither into relative obscurity, like Phang?

One thing is for certain, the internet is already calling for blood — or Mascot Kombat — if you will, which is totally appropriate for a children's museum mascot. Obviously.

And some people are ready to fight on Squiggles' behalf.

Others even vowed to head down to the museum today for the very chance to touch Squiggles, which we assume is possible since he is the mascot for the Please Touch Museum.

Listen, we're going to give Squiggles a chance, even if he does look like Grimace's love child with wild hair. It's only right because Philly is a city where we welcome all people, even if those people are undefinable anthropomorphic jawns.