…except Mr. Fantastic's powers work a lot differently from Luffy's, and the majority of American comic readers don't even know who Luffy even is. ROFLMAO!!11
Notice the XD.
The problem is that pretty much every "new generation" hero is a fucking lame cop-out to try to get young kids into buying comics/action figures.
Poor execution doesn't mean the concept's invalid.
What's the big deal? Comics are for fun, the heroes are timeless, but in order for them to remain so changes have to be made. It's inevitable. And you're forgetting about THE FANS. Who the fuck wants to see Bruce Wayne quit? NO ONE! Who wants to see Spider-Man give his suit to his nephew?
Well, actually Bruce Wayne is an unusual case; he has no inherent super power to justify himself. I can see, for example, the unusual backstories of other heroes (Superman, the Fantastic Four, etc.) including that their strange powers include greatly slowed aging. However, I think it would be kind of cool to see how Batman would age, the emotional event when he realises he can't keep up with criminals anymore.
If you really want to keep the hero as he was in 1962, then perhaps another alternative is to do it as a "period piece". 1962 technology, 1962 architecture and fashion, 1962 politics and relevant threats. Educational and fun!
I guess I'd like to see new stuff also because the old stuff is so much of a fixture. We all know the basic story by heart. Without ripping the canon the shreds, you can't pull many shocking exciting things out of your hat.
I believe, once you're painted into a corner like that, it's better to start entirely new, rather than create a "50 percent new" story, slap a well-liked brand on it, and call it a new version.
One more thing: As you said, few Americans know who Luffy is. And that in and of itself plays back into the "fixture" thing. Even the nature of characters and their beginnings are exciting to discover, and it's not so much fun when it's just "always been there".
I always thought it was kind of amazing how DC destroyed the entire universe in order to make a story that makes sense.
Do you mean "ripped down the old backstories/history" or "actually destroyed the universe as a plot event"? Seriously, I don't know.