It would be so much better if the comic books can adopt the continuity policy of cartoons and movies. There can be numerous comic book series, each with its own continuity.
You mean like Gundam as a metaseries. You know there's giant robots in each setting and they're going to look like Gundams but the details can be very different.
That could work, too.
Just like how the Justice league cartoon and the batman cartoon series can exist side by side. Just because one series has a end does not mean anyone cannot start another new series based on the same characters.
Well, I'm thinking of the hard resets simply because comic book realities get silly when you try to keep them in anything like the real world. Then again, that also goes for fictional realities based on the real world like West Wing. It diverges from our timeline right after Nixon so Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, they don't exist. Which then becomes very complicated when you have the 2000 election, 9-11, and other real world events that are stepping all over a show that can't ignore them.
But I suppose if you don't have the hard resets you can just go with alternate continuities, just stick the name of it on the issue and people will know.
The problem with a franchise is management won't let the writers take any risks that might break the franchise. But perversely, they'll also demand ridiculous plots that will break the franchise because they're looking for a stunt to increase circulation.
However it's done, the only thing I'll say that's an incontrovertible fact is lame-ass retcons that undo established events in the story utterly ruin everything that's been built. Any of this soap opera crap like Captain Hero didn't really turn evil he was mind-controlled or replaced by a robot or an evil twin from another dimension, time travel hits the plot reset button, villain who was graphically and definitively killed not really dead, no no no no.