I just saw THE SPIRIT and came away with my retinae drenched with its version of achieving a "comic book look." I guess it was successful; it wasn't a look that I cared for any. I felt like that's ALL they tried for, and so over-did it.
The movies I remember that tried for this were:
SUPERMAN (1978) POPEYE (1980) DICK TRACY EDWARD SCISSORHANDS
I have not seen POPEYE, but would like to. Just like a Jerry Lewis movie, I'll have to shove flaming hot fingernails under my bamboo splints ( ) to get through it, since it's an Altman film. But I'll try, to see what they achieved.
Trouble is DIB, none of those examples have much in common.
The DC and Marvel variety are these days trying so hard to get away as far as they can from any comic book look. Shame. For me they should try and get the look while being cool to look at. But the more they try they seem to drain every last bit of colour they can out of what made these things fun to start with. Everyone seems to be celebrating the Zack Snyder thing. I don't mind him wanting to show his original vision, but it looks dark as hell. And therefore drab.
I'm not aware that the Tim Burton film has anything to do with the genre other than that look.
Popeye of course did first appear in comics but other than this... ? Just a cartoon no one is that bothered about except the classic cartoons by the Fleishers. The less said about the movie the better. Got it so wrong! Although the village they built in/on Malta is worth a look when you're on holiday.
Dick Tracy. Well, the movie was fine. There doesn't seem to be any particular loyalty there either. Fun, whoever does another version it seems to me.
Speed Racer (2008) was made to look like a cartoon with excruciatingly bright colors and some "flattened" detail (like incendiary explosions). The original was a manga (comic book) from late '60s Japan, which then became an anime (animated cartoon) imported to the US in the early '70s. The movie showed an obvious knowledge of the original and its various iterations. It was very true to the source material, while making a few minor changes to "upgrade" it for a more mature audience.
Space Battleship Yamato (2010) has a similar pedigree. The live-action movie made no overt effort to look cartoonish (except for the dreaded teal and orange grading used on everything these days), it is true to the original while also making minor changes for an older audience. The most outstanding change was the nature of the enemy. The end result is very "Shinto." Recommended for anyone who knew the original. And watch it with the original Japanese soundtrack. The English dub is hideous.
The TV series Call The Midwife (2012) used some subtle grading in the first couple seasons, at least. (I did not continue with the series.) The material was shot in color, but some scenes were posted to have a particularly "retouched" look, like old black-and-white photos that have been tinted with color. For example, everyone will have the same skin tone, a brick wall is all the same color instead of a mix of reddish-browns, etc.
A Scanner Darkly (2006) is live-action entirely rotoscoped to turn it into a cartoon. As with many "gimmicky" production techniques, like "bullet-time" (see The Matrix) this particular cartoon look was used in a series of TV ads, then cranked up to 11 for a movie. I watched it to check out the roto work, but I've never been a fan of Philip K. Dick, and cannot understand why his stories are so popular as movie fodder.
I just saw some of POPEYE and I didn't run screaming from the room, in spite of Altman.
But I think it did a great job of achieving the look. Probably because they stuck with making the people look (and behave) like cartoon characters. If they'd tried to do the sets also, I'd have felt overwhelmed.