That's an interesting point which I hadn't really considered since I read the 6-volume paperback series first.
One interesting thing to me is that Moorcock wrote his stories that way, where he knew how the series would end and kept filling in details along the way in additional stories. Seems like most modern fantasy series aren't done that way.
I think it's my issue with a lot of franchise fiction, such as Star Wars EU as well as shows like the upcoming Batman prequel series: do a great story, then go back before it happened.
Don't get me wrong, I loved the Clone Wars series, though re-watching Episode 3 is strange (ie: I'm no longer expecting to hear Hayden Christiansen's whining "my Master" during a sword fight). But I preferred episodes where things had nothing to do with the movies: there were great episodes, but one set of them had Anakin see that he'd become Darth Vader and then have his mind wiped so "it was all a dream", which was a pain.
My preference for Elric would have been, I don't know, starting in a new world or alternate world where he somehow emerges from Stormbringer, or something. I don't know. Or at least just write another story without having specific events that will happen.
Case in point:
REH does a great job with Conan in that, while we know he'll one day become a king, most of the stories are just adventures on their own. The story is not about the events or the chronology. The story is the adventures that he has as a swordsman, thief, reaver, barbarian, etc. He's not in your face with the same characters in every story, for the most part. Granted, one would like an ensemble. Robert Jordan's stories use the same one-eyed companion, and I liked that.
For Elric, especially in the comic series "The Balance Lost", you have the franchise of him wandering the multiverse for whatever reason. Bad guys come, he yells "Blood and Souls for Arioch!", and it's fantastic. There's the battle between Law and Chaos, there's Tanelorn, and weirdness all over. That's the franchise for Elric as I see it. I get that historically it includes knowing that the universe ends, that the Young Kingdoms fall to Chaos and Law... and that's awesome. I dunno, though, that it's the right focus for the character, and in a collection introducing new readers like myself, it would have been nice if they'd saved the story for the last volume. Unlike the Conan stories, where REH's style develops as he continues, Elric's as-published are full of spoilers. Lin Carter did some kind of chronology for Conan, but it's not necessary for him like it would be for Elric, as none of the Conan stories really reference each other in the same way.
I'm not usually into anti-heroes, but Elric... he's kind of caught with his own demons, and trying to be a good guy. He's not a bad person, either: he's not happy about slaying people, like a Deadpool type. He's just unable to stop, and that's what makes him relatable for me. I think Moorcock was dealing with his own inner demons, something like drinking, but I may be misremembering. Maybe he ended the setting to deal with that, the self-destruction he felt... then publishers loved his stuff, so he had to come up with something, and turned to prequels!
X-men: I'd say Conan would be Wolverine, btw. Elric is closer to Gambit, maybe; or even Cyclops shacked up with Dark Pheonix. Y'know, cause Stormbringer is his evil, soul-sucking girlfriend? Heh, maybe Silver Surfer with Galactus?