Impractical, But Hey, It's Not My Company
Comic companies have to clear the decks one in a while, chucking aside the past, since so much damn backstory builds up that it forms a choking mass. (e.g., "Batman can't dance the polka! It was established in Detective Comics #412, back in 1987. Doesn't this new writer know that?") It's better for storytelling sanity to scrape off the barnacles once in a while and start fresh. Or fresh-er, in the case of comics. And I say this as a big ol' fanboy.
DC just did a halfway-reboot with Infinite Crisis and the One Year Later setups, and that's groovy. Marvel's never really done one. Instead, they spawned off the "Ultimate" universe, which is what a rebooted Marvel would look like. But they left the old Marvel Universe intact.
So for both companies, there's a big freakin' backlog of backstory, the sense that it's all been done, and that everything's going in circles. (At least to me. I know a lot of fans disagree, but hey, my blog.)
So...how about this for a dumb idea:
First, have one or both of the Big Two do a full-blown reboot. It's never been done--the closest was DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths back in the mid-eighties, which was about a three-quarter reboot. This time, everything starts from issue #1, everybody. Old backstory is gone, lost, it's Casper.
Second, and more importantly, give the "new universe" an expiration date in real time. Say, seven years. At the end of the seven years of publication, the entire universe of stories wraps up and ends.
This would not only allow for fresh starts and new takes while keeping the icons in play, it would face the problems of serial storytelling head-on. Everything would be going somewhere. The end would always be in sight. Rather than running in circles, the super-stories could have definate ends, be it a simple wind-down or a giant freakin' Ragnarok.
Then, when the old universe is wrapped up, blammo...a new one, different from the old one, though not necessarily all-new.
I like this idea. I do. Stories that end have much more power and potential than stories stuck in a status quo. Ends in sight would prevent boring-ass meandering. Old-tymey continuity could be used or ignored as the creators saw fit, without resorting to Superboy punching the walls of the universe to create time hiccups.*
There are drawbacks, of course. A healthy chunk of the fan base would have me boiled alive if somehow I made this happen. Plus, let us count the ways that this plan would be business suicide. One, two, three, four...hm...five, six...oh, yeah, can't leave out seven... And there's always the chance that rebooting everything time and again would simply result in tired-ass rehashes or idiotic change for the sake of change. ("It's Spider-Man! He's back! But this time...he's a drum major and a NASCAR driver!")
I still like it.
What say you, o comic fans?
*To my small non-comic readership: please don't ask. Just don't.