I have never understood why continuity is a problem for new reasders. When each of us started reading comics, we just absorbed the continuity. It is still the same. As you say, most old stuff is never referenced. There are a handful of classics thare are referenced or homaged occassionally. But for the most part it is not a big deal. To put it mildly, I have always been skeptical that are really people so dumb that they get lost in continuity and simply can't make anything of a story because there is 50 years of history. If that were true, how does it help to reboot. Two years in there is already going to be continuity that everyone needs to know. That is why DC keeps having to reboot every few years.
If continuity is too heavy, new readers can and should try the ultimate universe which, I imagine, will be rebooted periodically.
I wish you could explain that to Joey Q & Co. I remember I started reading Avengers in the late 70's, but I loved getting those reprints mags Marvel Triple Action and ... (Can't remember the name of the other now), that were comming out at the same time, each one reprinting a different period of Avengers history (Triple Action was like from the #50's on, the other was the Cap's Kooky Quartet phase) and I tried to put together what had happened before the period of new Avengers' stories that was being published. It was so fun, and, as amazing as it may be for today's readers, not confusing at all. It was like put together an exciting jig-saw puzzele that you had to hunt down the pieces. Today, with Essentials, specialized stores, wikipedia and the internet, it's sooo much easier.