The odd thing is that the practice of running stories over many issues of the same title goes back to the early days of American comics, when anthology titles, such as Big Shot from last week in the reading group, reprinted newspaper strips in comic book format. Every month you got the next part of a story.
But the vast majority of superhero and other genres from American publishers in the '40's and 50's, had either a complete story in each issue or, more commonly, a number of complete storyettes. I preferred it that way.
( I recently bought a few issues of Mr District Attorney, DC Mid '50's, and they contain 3 shortish Mr. DA stories plus a filler strip and a couple of pages of text - they're a good read)
Later, I think that publishers realised that if they could hook you, then you'd be desperate to find out what happened next - much the same as happened with movie serials. Hence Marvel quickly going to continued stories and leaving DC at the coo's tail.
You're absolutely right, imo, nowadays these long running "story arcs" seem only a fly way of trying to ensure the reader comes back next month. I don't, preferring to wait for a trade and that seldom happens as there aren't many stories in modern comics that tickle my fancy. And these "events" just aren't original anymore.
The UK had a number of formats and packages including the Beano type with a mix of humour and action strips, pocket libraries which featured a single story but occasionally 2 or 3, featuring a single character in a 64 page digest, stuff like the current title in the reading group, and out and out action comics with a variety of stories in weekly episodes - e.g. Action, Vulcan, and a number of war titles. But at least with the continued stories in British comics you only had to wait a week for the next bit.
And Manga seems to go in for long drawn out storylines with Bleach, One-Piece and piles more.