Instead of retcon after retcon, Marvel, DC, Valiant, Image, and any other comic book company should do 10 year blocks of a universe. For example: In 2020 the universe starts completely over. New origins, new ideas for characters, and completely new stories. The company can map out the 10 year arc and give the universe a huge ending in December of 2029. On January of 2030, it’s all brand new and has no attachment to the last decade. Doing it this way you create demand too. People who are introduced in a certain decade feel nostalgia for that run. They will be more likely to collect every comic and TPB that comes out of their generation. Others will be interested in how one decade changes from another. So they will continue on into the next decade knowing that it doesn’t change the history of their favorite run but has a whole new story line to follow. I bet you would even get creative teams that would want to craft their books for the full 10 years. The only rules, no mention or overlap with another decade. Books in various decades would also see increased value as that decades readership ages. New readers may also want to go back and see how their favorite characters from previous decades were different, so they would buy back issues. At the same time, new readers wouldn’t be confused by a massive past history and they could jump on easily to their current decade.
If you did it this way then you could have Peter Parker as THE Spider-man in one decade and Miles Morales could be THE Spider-man of another. Then you wouldn’t get people hating a character that they feel is basically a rewrite from what they know. It’s a new decade and for that 10 years, that is the character.
Movies made in those decades could even take advantage of current lines or play on nostalgia and use the previous decade. Really, if you think about it, it’s just like movies currently that have new versions and reboots. Instead of just piling on the same universe over and over and having to come up with events to explain age and continuity, this fixes everything and endears the current generation to the decade they are living in, increasing nostalgia and sales for complete runs.
If any of these companies do this… Maybe throw me some credit!!!